The Times West Virginian

Headline News

June 24, 2014

Church lures worshippers with AR-15 giveaway

JOPLIN, Mo. — Some churches raffle quilts to get people through the doors. For Ignite Church, a nondenominational congregation, the lure is a couple of AR-15 rifles.



A week ago Sunday, the church gave area fathers an opportunity to put their names in a free drawing to win one of two AR-15 rifles. Fathers could get tickets for each child they brought to church, and for bringing his own dad to church.

Ignite's lead pastor, Heath Mooneyham, said the Father's Day giveaway targeted a specific demographic - males age 18 to 35. His church also lures younger congregants with loud rock music, outings to gun ranges and a black-and-green color scheme reminiscent of a video game.

Also, the pastor has tattoos and a mohawk.



“We’re not trying to put on a show for anybody,” Mooneyham said. “We’re just dudes.”

The AR-15 giveaway found controversy - in comments on the church's Facebook page and in other pulpits.

Steve Urie, pastor of the Joplin Diversity Fellowship, a non-denominational congregation open to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender worshippers, said giving away weapons leads to violence.

"I don’t think it’s just nontraditional," said Urie. "I think it’s careless and reckless.”



But Dan McCain, who plays lead guitar for the Ignite band and was one of the two AR-15 winners, said firearm ownership doesn't equate to violence.

"I’ve never won anything in my life, so it was exciting,” he said.

Though not a fully automatic weapon, the AR-15 discharges rounds as quickly as its operator can pull the trigger. It was one of several guns used in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater, and similar to the style of rifle used in the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

In a YouTube video shared on Ignite's Facebook page, Mooneyham called one of the rifles in the giveaway, made by Black Rain Ordnance in Neosho, Mo., the “Lamborghini of guns.”

Text Only
Headline News
  • House approves bill to boost child tax credit for some

    More families with higher incomes could claim the popular child tax credit under a bill that won approval Friday in the House. But in a dispute that divides Republicans and Democrats, millions of the poorest low-income families would still lose the credit in 2018, when enhancements championed by President Barack Obama are set to expire.

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014

  • U.N. school in Gaza in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Two more planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 25, 2014

  • Obama demands ‘economic patriotism’

    Staking out a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama on Thursday demanded “economic patriotism” from U.S. corporations that use legal means to avoid U.S. taxes through overseas mergers.
    “I don’t care if it’s legal,” Obama declared. “It’s wrong.”

    July 24, 2014

  • Airline disasters come in a cluster

    Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. Two airliners crash during storms. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.

    July 24, 2014

  • Opponents: Evidence against lethal injection

    The nation’s third botched execution in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other opponents said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ancient Animal Dig.jpg Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

    For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America’s most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bodies of Malaysian jet victims solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads