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When Jesus comes back, some Christians believe he’ll be wearing a bloodstained cloak and carrying an AR-15. No, honestly. That amazes me. I mean, personally, I thought that Christ’s favorite gun would be a nail gun.

The AR-15 rifle holds a certain mystique among hard-right followers of Christ. The Oasis Church of All Nations in Oxford, Mississippi raffled off two of them just days after the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. The Sanctuary Church in the town of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania held a blessing ceremony for semi-automatic rifles a couple of years ago, with a church official calling the AR-15 in particular a “religious accoutrement.” The professional Christian liar David Barton claimed that Google is so anti-Jesus and anti-gun that if you search for “AR-15,” Google will not return any results (completely untrue).

Of course, there was also the raffle that may have given the Mississippi church the idea. In 2014, the Grace Baptist Church in Troy, New York lured people to its services with an AR-15 giveaway. It must have been successful, because the same church is now pulling the same stunt again, calling it round 2 (geddit?).

The original event, pastor John Koletas claimed at the time, was all about

“… honoring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years.”

As before, the new giveaway, scheduled for one week from today, is open to anyone who’s at least 18, and again the lucky recipient is going to have to pass a state background check. Meanwhile, the church

“… reserves the right to disqualify those of questionable character.”

If you’re not sure what that means, Koletas was fairly open about it in 2014.

“You will be disqualified if you have any connection to or personally know the Missing Link,” Koletas said, referring to Missing Link Street Ministry Mission … which … holds gun buyback programs.

Koletas also said the having the names Hossain or Mohammed may be reason for disqualification.

My best guess is that the choice of AR-15 is in part for the shock value. It’s the gun — often called an assault rifle, though that’s a misnomer — that gun-law reformers are most itching to go after. In a way, Grace Baptist Church is hard-trolling its critics on the left; the church leaders know that they wouldn’t get a similar rise out of a giveaway of a Springfield M1A or a Ruger Mini-14, even though those rifles are the functional equivalent of an AR-15 but without the military-style scary look. That said,

AR-15s or similar rifles were the primary weapons used in around half of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history, including the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2015 San Bernardino attack, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, and the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

The godman who Christians claim to spend their lives in thrall to was, by most accounts, a bit of a hippie peacenik, so the ammosexual lifestyle seems to me to clash with the faith’s purported values. No surprise, mind you. Practice and theory are often deeply at odds in the wonderful world of religion, so we’ll just have to add this particular hypocrisy to the list.