Religious leaders respond to president on reducing gun violence

Press releases follow from Pico National Network, Washington National Cathedral, and the Interfaith Alliance.

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2013

Contact: Adam Muhlendorf, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications; (202) 641-6216

Comprehensive Gun Violence Prevention Must Include Targeted Urban Programs

WASHINGTON – Pastor Michael McBride, director of the PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign – a faith-based effort to reduce gun violence in the inner cities – released the following statement praising Vice President Biden’s task force recommendations and pledging to work with the White House and Congress to ensure that the final package includes more robust urban violence reduction programs.

“We are pleased to see how Vice President Biden and his task force members took their charge seriously and we are generally supportive of each proposed action on its own merits. We look forward to working with the White House and Congress to ensure that this package is even more comprehensive by seeking the inclusion of targeted gun violence prevention strategies that will reduce homicides in the short-term.

“National bishops, clergy and faith leaders from many faith traditions today unite our voices to urge Congress to act on these proposals for background checks for all gun purchases, bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and measures that will sharply limit gun trafficking into America’s cities.

“As the administration’s proposal makes its way through Congress, we pray that our elected leaders will include targeted urban violence prevention policies that leverage the collective strengths of faith leaders, law enforcement and policy makers to keep guns off of our streets and our young people out of the graveyard.

“In the light of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and memory, may we be reminded of his dream for all America to live as a beloved community; and may we lead, advocate and legislate in a way that reminds us of his poignant words, ‘Either we live together as brothers and sisters, or die together as fools.’”

PICO’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign is hosting a nationwide gun violence prevention Sabbath this weekend where churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship will recognize members from their congregation that were lost at the hands of gun violence. Family members will bring photos of their lost loved ones and clergy are expected to call on the faithful to lift-up their voices to unite the pain and suffering of the nation into an actionable plan to prevent gun violence.

PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CONTACT: Meredith MacKenzie, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications • (202)


Dean of Washington National Cathedral to Preach
on Gun Violence Ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Cathedral applauds President Obama’s comprehensive recommendations to curb gun violence in America

Washington, D.C.—The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, will preach from the Cathedral’s historic Canterbury Pulpit this Sunday, January 20, 2013, calling on people of faith to follow the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example of working together to address issues of the day—with attention now given to address gun violence in America. The dean will deliver his sermon from the same pulpit King used in his last Sunday sermon in March 1968—and on the day before the nation commemorates the civil rights leader and celebrates the inauguration of President Obama’s second term. Presiding at the services Sunday will be the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of Washington, with whom Dean Hall has partnered in vocal support for stronger gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December.

In response to President Obama’s announcement today, Dean Hall also released the following statement:

We at Washington National Cathedral commend Vice President Biden for his leadership during this crisis of gun violence, and I urge President Obama and Congress to enact today’s recommendations as soon as possible. While we applaud the 23 executive orders and recommended legislation that would require background checks for all gun purchases, ban military-style assault weapons, and restore a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines, we also pray especially for continued attention to the daily gun violence plaguing urban communities across the country.

Washington National Cathedral will continue to do its part to keep the problem of gun violence—and its solutions—in the public eye. In the months ahead, we will convene public dialogue about gun violence, its causes and solutions, in service of our mission as a faith community committed to gathering people from a wide range of political perspectives to engage important public policy issues of the day.

The Cathedral also announced today a special Sunday forum program with presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who will discuss President Obama’s second term and the creation of presidential legacies with Dean Hall at 10:10 am. Dean Hall’s sermons will take place during the two services of Holy Eucharist at 8:45 am and 11:15 am. All services and the forum are free and open to the public.

Media is invited and press coverage of the 10:10 am forum and 11:15 am service is welcome. To attend, YOU MUST RSVP to Meredith MacKenzie at (202) 265-3000 or by Friday, January 18, 2013.

Dean Hall’s Sermon on Gun Violence and MLK’s Legacy
Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 8:45 am and 11:15 am

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Very Rev. Gary Hall will address the task of reducing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. In addition, he will offer insights into the parallels between Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision and the challenges facing our society today, renewing King’s call for nonviolence in light of the gun-related tragedies that continue across the nation.

The Shape of a Second Term: President Obama and Presidential Legacy
Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 10:10 am

Michael Beschloss, who has been called “the nation’s leading Presidential historian” by Newsweek, will have a conversation with Dean Hall about the next four years of an Obama presidency and the legacy he will leave when he exits the oval office after his second term.



January 16, 2013

CONTACT: Shannon Craig Straw, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
Office: 202-265-3000; Cell: 202-674-5921;

Interfaith Alliance Responds to Biden
Recommendations on Stemming Gun Violence in America

Washington, D.C. –Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to actions being taken by President Obama to stem gun violence in America based on recommendations by Vice President Joe Biden.

Today’s actions by President Obama are a welcome and important step forward in our nation’s effort to reduce and ultimately eradicate gun violence and I urge Congress to move quickly in approving and implementing these recommendations. Far too many people already have died as a result of the obscene number of guns among us with capacity far beyond what any private citizen needs for either sport or protection. I am delighted at the support for immediate action coming from religious leaders from diverse religious traditions.

This much-needed current effort is important, but it does not absolve our political leaders or past administrations of their failure to act for well over a decade out of concern that they would be challenged by the radical elements on the political spectrum. Vice President Biden’s recommendations to the President are sensible measures to restrict access to weapons that have no place outside the military, and that provide resources for mental health. I join all who thank the administration for acting quickly, responsibly, and compassionately, but I remain saddened by the long and deadly path we have traveled to get here.

The Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, the Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit


  1. Another instance in which PICO is on the cutting edge of justice. Wonderful!

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