PADUCAH, Ky. (CBS Cleveland) – In an attempt to encourage non-believers to attend their churches, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is urging houses of worship to offer guns as door prizes as part of what they refer to as “Second Amendment Celebrations.”
Roger Alford, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s communication director, said that the initiative was intended to serve as “outreach to rednecks,” the Kentucky Courier-Journal is reporting.
And it may be working. The paper learned that approximately 1,000 people are anticipated to attend the next one, which will be held at the Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., on Thursday where a free steak dinner will be offered, in addition to the chance to win one of 25 shotguns, handguns and long guns available in the raffle.
The approach has also reportedly resulted in 3,000 people joining the church in the past two years.
Chuck McAlister, former host of the Outdoor Channel show “Adventure-Bound Outdoors” and now the head of evangelism for the KBC, came up with the idea as a means of speaking directly to what the Convention’s website referred to as “good ol’ boys.”
“One of the things we have learned, especially in the rural South where hunting is important, is that the Second Amendment also is important,” McAlister was quoted as saying in a press release. “Men are very strongly committed to our right to bear arms.”
Though the initiative is said to have been a success, some were skeptical of whether such an approach was altogether appropriate.
“Giveaways for God [seem wrong],” Rev. Joe Phelps, pastor of Louisville’s independent Highland Baptist Church, told the Courier-Journal. “Can you picture Jesus giving away guns, or toasters or raffle tickets? … He gave away bread once, but that was as a sign, not a sales pitch.”
Phelps also noted: “How ironic, to use guns to lure men in to hear a message about Jesus, who said [to] ‘put away the sword.’”