Target: Heath Mooneyham, lead pastor at Ignite Church
Goal: Chastise the church for promoting gun violence and ask for a pledge to stop giving away guns
Churches are meant to be safe havens where people can practice their beliefs peacefully and without the imminent threat of violence. Some churches have radically decided to support guns instead. Ignite Church created a gun giveaway for its church-going members, actively supporting gun ownership and gun violence.
Ignite Church, located in Joplin, Missouri, is known for its liberal approach to preaching. This most recent display was before Father’s Day with its promotion of a raffle for two assault rifles. The guidelines for the giveaway were simple: fathers and their families could come to Ignite Church on Father’s Day and win one of two assault rifles. The “prizes” were two Black Rain AR-15s which Pastor Mooneyham said could be used to kill zombies, according to news outlet Think Progress.
Pastor Mooneyham’s goal, he says, was to bring more young men into the church. Not only is the use of a gun giveaway for men sexist and presumptuous of young men’s characters, but the blatant promoting of gun violence is dangerous and questionable. The church also goes on hunting and shooting trips, further evidence of its support for gun violence. Other pastors from neighboring churches have criticized Pastor Mooneyham for his promotion of guns, as have some church members who are uncomfortable with the giveaway and its consequences.
Chastise Pastor Mooneyham for his reckless support of guns and gun violence and ask him to avoid promoting guns through his church in the future.
Dear Pastor Mooneyham,
I recently became aware of a giveaway your church created for Father’s Day. While prizes are wonderful for making church-goers happy, I do not consider weapons to be appropriate “prizes” for young people. Your easygoing attitude and overall acceptance of your community is laudable and exemplary of how a church should act. However, no church should support guns or gun violence. Gun violence goes against peace, a value many church-goers hold dear; and Black Rain AR-15s are assault rifles, specifically meant for hurting people and animals.
By sponsoring hunting trips and shooting outings, you clearly promote killing other creatures with guns. As a church pastor I expect you to support only peace and love for fellow humans and creatures. I ask that you stop promoting gun violence by no longer hosting gun giveaways at your church. There are many other ways to encourage new members that don’t require endorsing deadly weapons.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gretchen Marie Roth via Wikimedia Commons