The Fourth of July always held a special place in my heart as a kid because the festivities associated with the day were unmatched. You start the day with a parade and get a bunch of candy (summer trick-or-treating), then we'd go to a little festival that had games and prizes, and finish the day watching fireworks at night. It never failed to be a good time.

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Friends Celebrating 4th Of July Holiday With Backyard Party
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So a church hosting a raffle at its Fourth of July party isn't anything out of the ordinary. What was very out of the ordinary was the church's premier prize: an AR-15.

 

New Chapel's Raffle

On July 7th, New Chapel church located in Grand Rapids hosted its yearly Fourth of July celebration dubbed 'Living in Freedom' which features carnival rides, games, food, and fun. One of those fun events is a free raffle with a variety of prizes including a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, bikes for kids...and an AR-15 Rifle. Quite a range of these prizes, indeed.

 

New Chapel
2023 Raffle winner / New Chapel
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This isn't the first time the church has given away a rifle. The church's website has photos from 2021 and 2023, as well as a FAQ explaining their reason for giving away an assault rifle. The church gave two main reasons:

  1. Founding Father John Adams claimed that Independence Day should be celebrated with "pomp and parade, with shows, Games, Sports, GunsBells, Bonfires, and Illuminations...", so raffling a gun is just another way to celebrate being American.
  2. The church claims that it is "scriptural for people of God to be armed", citing Luke 22:35-37.

READ MORE: Seeing More Fireflies Than Usual? There's A Reason For That

 

There are members of the community who disagree with New Chapel's choice to give away something as potentially dangerous as an assault rifle. To the church's credit, it is taking safety precautions to ensure the person receiving the rifle passes a background check, and New Chapel hosts annual personal safety classes where you can obtain a concealed weapons permit.

 

Photo by STNGR LLC on Unsplash
Photo by STNGR LLC on Unsplash
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New Chapel has services each Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.

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