If you found out that your pastor wasted $3,000 from your church’s discretionary fund to buy raffle tickets for an item worth less than a third of that amount, and that he fully intended to destroy from the outset, you’d likely be calling for his head.
If you found out that he then did something illegal with that item, which falls well afoul of your church’s guidelines for “pious and charitable uses,” you’d probably launch an inquiry to see about his termination.
Fortunately for the rabidly anti-gun Reverend Jeremy Lucas, his very liberal congregation doesn’t seem to care.
Unfortunately for Rev. Lucas, he ran afoul of the very gun laws he championed, and and illegally transferred the gun to a parishioner without a state-law mandated background check.
A pastor in an affluent suburb of Portland may have run afoul of Oregon law when he transferred an AR-15 assault rifle that he won in a softball league raffle to a gun-owning friend for safekeeping without performing a background check.
The Oregon State Police will open an investigation into whether the Rev. Jeremy Lucas violated any law, spokesman Capt. Bill Fugate told The Associated Press on Tuesday, although the decision on charges would fall to the district attorney.
Lucas, of Christ Church Episcopal Parish in Lake Oswego, a suburban town about 10 miles south of Portland, drew national attention recently when he used $3,000 in discretionary church funds to buy as many of the raffle tickets as he could for a softball league fundraiser to send high school students to a regional tournament in California.
Lucas, 44, wanted to win so he could destroy the gun. He told the AP on Tuesday that he has received overwhelming support from parishioners.
“The money that was used to buy the raffle tickets has been more than replaced,” he said. “We’ve gotten support from all over the country, with people sending checks and money. It’s struck a chord.”
Let’s be perfectly blunt: the Oregon State Police won’t pursue charges against Rev. Lucus. He represents a powerful church congregation that has a lot of political influence, and the OSP doesn’t want the hassle. Likewise, prosecutors won’t put themselves in a position where they could lose public supporter and/or reelection campaign funding and make himself the villain by pursuing a case against a member of the clergy unless that religious figure clearly meant to do wrong.
Nor is it likely that the Episcopal Church will discipline Lucas for what appears to be a clear abuse of church discretionary funds, because his congregation quickly refilled the church’s coffers.
Rev. Lucas broke the law and church policy to waste $3,000 to symbolically destroy a gun he never wanted, merely to deny it to others.
He could have just as easily spent the $3,000 to legally buy, possess, and destroy thirty-three AR-15 lower receivers, but that would have lacked the showmanship he desired for his virtue-signalling mission.
Human law will not be applied equally here.
Whether God is equally accepting of Lucas’s expensive grandstanding with funds set aside for the less fortunate is a matter for the next life.