Priest drops $3,000 on an AR-15? Coolest priest ever. Priest melts that AR-15 into a “symbol of hope”? Not cool, not cool at all.
Rev. Jeremy Lucas of Christ Church Episcopal Parish in Lake Oswego, Oregon, noticed earlier this year that a local girls softball team was raffling off an AR-15 to raise money to travel to a tournament in California.
“It was jarring,” Lucas told The Lake Oswego Review on Tuesday. “This is the gun used most often in mass shootings in the past decade.”
He used church funds (“discretionary funds and donations”) to purchase 150 raffle tickets worth $3,000. He won the rifle and, with the help of an outfit called RAW Tools, held a small ceremony this week to melt it down into a garden tool.
“We took a weapon designed to kill human beings, an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, and turned it into a tool for cultivating and growing food,” he said on his blog.
“It’s a small, symbolic act,” he told The Review. “But this gun will never be used to kill kids in schools, kill people in a movie theater, kill people at an office party or at any other place of mass shootings. This gun will never be found by a child who accidently shoots a friend, or accidently used by a police chief who’s had too much to drink at a barbecue and shoots a friend.”
Of course, there is a flip side to his logic. This firearm will never be used to save lives. It will never be used by a young mother to protect her family, nor will it be used by a teacher to save her students, nor will it be used by a law enforcement officer to stop a mass killer, etc., etc.
Yet, from a cost perspective, if Rev. Lucas really believes AR-15s are responsible for violence (and not the person pulling the trigger), he could have bought and destroyed four rifles with the money he coughed up on one.
Lucas claimed his stunt “isn’t about politics.” It’s just an “expression of faith” meant to “highlight the idolatry with which we worship guns in America.” He has yet to explain why his “small expression of faith” required blog posts, media coverage, and national attention.
Some of his parishioners weren’t so comfortable with his symbolic act, but not because they value their Second Amendment rights.
“I’ve never seen [an AR-15] before,” said Susie Coffman, highlighting how much Rev. Lucas’s congregation knows about the tool they’re dead set on destroying. “It made me very uncomfortable, even though I knew it wasn’t loaded and that we were seeing it being cut into pieces.”
Ironically, Lucas’s great symbolic expression of faith and hope nearly landed him in hot water with law enforcement. He gave the rifle to a brave parishioner who was willing to keep the evil killing machine in his home until it could be disposed of. What Lucas didn’t know is that the Oregon State Legislature recently passed a law mandating a background check for every firearm transfer.
The Oregon State Police let him off the hook due to “insufficient evidence,” so he was free to lead the world into a new age of peace, where tyranny no longer exists and people have no need to defend themselves.