Time for the American Faith Community to Acknowledge Gun Violence as Religious and Moral Issue and Demand Action
— by Bryan Miller
According to press reports, as many as 27 people, including 18 elementary school children, were shot and killed by a lone gunman who attacked a school for 1st to 4th graders in Western Connecticut this morning.
Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Vice Chair of Heeding God’s Call and Senior Rabbi of Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia said:
In this time of year sacred for so many Americans it is beyond rational comprehension how such a massacre of innocents could occur, but it did. How much more obvious can it be that such senseless loss of life — loss of God’s Children, as we all are — demands that the American faith community call on all people and communities of faith to address gun violence as the religious and moral issue it is.
More after the jump.
The Reverend James F. McIntire, Board Chair of Heeding God’s Call, the growing faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, and Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Havertown, PA, said:
First, we pray for the lost and all that knew and loved them. Second, we pray for our country to heal from the deep psychic wound this morning’s slaughter has opened. Thirdly, and most importantly, we pray that the American faith community goes beyond prayer – to demand action to move this country to safety from mass shootings and the daily carnage of illegal guns that cities like Philadelphia suffer every day.
The Reverend Belita Mitchell, Chair of Heeding God’s Call’s Harrisburg Chapter and Pastor of Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren said: We at Heeding God’s Call have long recognized gun violence as hostile to God’s peaceable kingdom, so we believe it is absolutely a religious and moral problem that demands that all people of faith take activist roles in diminishing it – which is exactly what we are about. We call today and everyday on our sisters and brothers in faith to join with us in seeking an end to the carnage, for God’s sake and ours.
The Reverend Todd Stavrakos, Heeding God’s Call Board Member and Pastor of Gladwyne Presbyterian Church in Gladwyne, PA said: “This is the time of the year when Christians witness to the birth of a child, yet we just lost eighteen.”
Heeding God’s Call is the faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Heeding is growing rapidly and has active chapters in NW, NE and West Phila, in its western suburbs, in Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington, DC. Heeding seeks to bring faithful and public pressure on gun shops to persuade them to avoid selling to those who would put guns on the street. Heeding was instrumental in leading federal authorities to shutter notorious Colosimo’s Gun Center on Spring Garden Street in late ’09. Heeding is currently active at two gun shops in NE Philadelphia.