Home Christian News Tennessee Church Raffles off AR-15 To Celebrate Independence Day

Tennessee Church Raffles off AR-15 To Celebrate Independence Day

The River of Tri-Cities Church
Screengrab via Facebook / @The River of Tri-Cities

A Tennessee church raffled off an AR-15 rifle as part of its Independence Day celebration over the weekend. Dr. Todd Holmes, senior pastor of The River of Tri-Cities Church in Johnson City, said that he sees the giveaway as part of a broader effort for his church to “be a blessing” to the community.

“This is just one of the many giveaways that we do here at our church,” Holmes told WJHL last week. “And I thought it was appropriate, since it’s about our nation’s independence and part of our Constitution and our Second Amendment rights.”

Although Holmes acknowledged that some might be uncomfortable with the giveaway, particularly those who have been affected by gun violence, he seemed to downplay those concerns. 

“There’s a lot more opportunity to be killed in vehicular violence, or crash I guess I should say, than there would be a gun,” Holmes said. “And people can get upset about something, but in the end, it’s really not about a gun. It’s about a person’s heart, because a gun in itself is not evil. It’s as good or as evil as the person that’s using it.”

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The AR-15 was given away on Sunday (July 7) during the church’s worship service, which was live streamed to Facebook

“We had a raffle set up here in the lobby here,” Holmes said. “And we are going to—because of our Second Amendment rights—now you couldn’t do this in North Korea. You couldn’t do this in China. You couldn’t do this in Canada…But you can in the United States of America.” 

Scattered affirmations of “amen” could be heard throughout the congregation.

“And we don’t worship guns,” Holmes clarified as the worship keyboardist continued to play. “That’s the corniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. But we’re going to give away this rifle here today.”

Holmes then instructed someone to bring the rifle onto the church’s stage. He was also joined onstage by his wife and co-senior pastor, Katie, who joked about being “a deplorable woman.” 

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“This is awesome to be able to do this,” Katie said as the rifle was brought forward. She went on to refer to those who would criticize the raffle as “small-brained liberals.”