Presiding bishop issues ‘call to action’ on gun violence

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] The following message comes from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The United States has witnessed far too many public shootings in recent months and years. Far too many lives have been cut short or maimed by both random and targeted acts of gun violence. The school shooting in Newtown was horrific, yet since that day several times as many young people have died by gunshot.

It is abundantly clear that Americans are ready to grapple with the complexities of gun violence. The Spirit is moving across this land to mobilize people of faith to act. I urge the United States members of this Church to call your federal legislators on Monday 4 February to express your concern and your expectation that gun violence be addressed. The outlines of the necessary policy decisions are clear and widely supported: limits on sales of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, effective background checks for all gun purchases, better access to mental health services, and attention to gun trafficking.

We believe all God’s people should be able to live in peace, as Zechariah dreams, “old men and women shall again sit in the streets…And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.” The prophet reminds his hearers that even if this seems impossible, with God it is not. [Zech 8:4-6] I urge you to add your voice to those clamoring for peace. Call your legislators and sue for peace.

What you can do now

  1. Share this message – You can forward this message hereYou can find sample posts for Facebook and Twitter here.
  2. Make an announcement at church – The National Council of Churches has samples messages for sharing with your church, here.
  3. SIGN THE PLEDGE – Sign the pledge to change our culture of violence here
  4. Identify your members of Congress – In case you don’t already know who your members are, you can look them up here. Have their names ready for Monday’s call-in day.

What you can do Monday, 2/4

Call your members of congress – Dial 1-888-897-0174 to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for your member of Congress. When you are connected, tell the staff person:

“I am a constituent and an Episcopalian, and I am calling to urge [name member of congress here] to support policies that will change the culture of violence in our country. We need legislation that limits sales of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, requires effective background checks for all gun purchases, provides for better access to mental health services, and directs attention to gun trafficking.”

Repeat for your other two members of Congress.

Comments

  1. I am an Episcopalian. What I see is that the problem is not one of gun violence anymore than the problem of 10,000 people killed every year by drunk drivers is one of car violence. The issue is not the tool, it’s violence. Mental health treatment and punishment of gun traffickers are great ideas, they actually attack the root of the problem.

    But none of these recent shootings would have been stopped by background checks – the purchasers of the guns they used either passed or would have passed them, and the gang members who are using guns to kill people in the streets of Chicago and elsewhere don’t get their guns from people who are going to run background checks. “Military-style weapons” aren’t really military weapons and aren’t really the issue – any semi-automatic weapon will serve for what they are doing, and no one is going to be saved by the second or two it takes to swap out a magazine.

    What will solve this issue is to condemn violence and the entertainers and culture that glorify it. We let them change the culture. We need to change it back. The Church needs to point out what is wrong with the culture and fight against it, not adopt it or be co-opted by it as we so often have.

    • Karen Birr says:

      I totally agree with you Ron. I couldn’t have said it better. I wish more people would listen to you instead of always trying to change the laws and put the government in our lives even more. I remember the old saying “Guns don’t kill people, People kill guns.” I know first hand the state of our mental health care sytem. That is what needs changed and improved. Thanks again for your remarks.

  2. The culture of violence doesn’t come from the purchase and use of guns. There are 300,000,000 guns in the United States. There are about 9,000 homicides using guns in a year. That’s 0.003% presuming that each homicide is done with a different gun – which is not the case. If guns were the problem there’d be a lot more deaths than that.

    The culture of violence comes from children having children, not having any family, and joining gangs that promote criminal action to get money and status. It comes from entertainers that glorify violence to make money. A film director like Quentin Valentino makes movies drenched in blood and mindless killing. He is lauded, given awards and made wealthy and famous by the very people who blame guns for what happens when people outside the theater act like the people on screen. He should be condemned, shamed and his works derided. THAT will change the culture. Young men and women waiting until they can support children to have them will change the culture.

  3. There are 3,000,000 AR-15′s in this country (described as “personal defense weapons” by the Department of Homeland Security, by the way). About 350 people were killed by rifles of all kinds in 2011 according to the FBI. That includes the use of single-shot rifles as well and other kinds. That’s a vanishingly small percentage of rifles used to kill anyone. The problem isn’t guns. The problem is our culture of violence. If you want to cut down the number of guns in this country, give law-abiding people a reason not to need them.

  4. Mark Fulcher says:

    …the problem is, many churches don’t know how to teach right from wrong, and don’t even teach that there is right and wrong, including the Episcopal Church. They are too hung up on pushing political agenda. Why did the Presiding Bishop wait till now to speak against “violence”? (…though really she is speaking against law-abiding gun-owning citizens.) Because that’s what Obama and the Democrats are doing now. The problem is evil people, not people’s guns… but the Episcopal Church doesn’t understand that concept. Not anymore.
    Stand on the Foundation, and don’t snuggle up to politicians, and I might visit your church once in a while. You might speak with authority.

    • Cliff Johnston says:

      Obama and the Democrats have avoided the issue of gun violence for so long that the interest some of them are now showing will need action in order to be convincing in any degree. Political agenda, or what is taken for such, is reflective – in every case – of moral values, and these moral values are obviously within the purview of the Church. In cases such as this one, in which specific action is urged on the part of members of Christ’s body, the underlying concern is not an agenda, but the well being of God’s people, and how particular actions may help bring foundational kingdom values to bear on public discourse. As a priest, I have a responsibility to those I seek to serve to urge prayerful action in instances of moral confusion and personal and spiritual danger. In any particular case, any of us may get things wrong, but please believe me when I say that what is of concern in this matter is the well being of our children and other innocents, and how our action or inaction, our words or silence, reflect and/or contribute to our collective spiritual health or peril.

  5. F WILLIAM THEWALT says:

    To get around the Constitutional right gun-owners claim to have, I suggest allowing guns for everyone, but tax bullets at $10.00 each. That might cool the ardor of those who have the urge to “get their gun off.”

  6. Judy Mathews says:

    I applaud Bishop Jefferts Schori for giving us a formula for acting positively to speak out for action and for voting for a change in our country’s gun laws. While some choose to blame death by guns on TV, on games, society, and on poor parenting, the killing goes on — and on.

    The number of Episcopalians who are able to respond CAN surely make a difference. The elected representatives have to depend on votes. We vote, and we can remind them of that fact.

  7. Jeanne Finan says:

    It is never too late to speak up for what is right. The Episcopal Church is not against guns (nor am I) but it is against gun violence. Even if you go the route of blaming “evil” people, evil people can do a lot less damage if they cannot get a semi-automatic weapon.
    Read again what is being asked:

    We need legislation that limits sales of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, requires effective background checks for all gun purchases, provides for better access to mental health services, and directs attention to gun trafficking.”

    I can’t see that this is unreasonable or infringes on anyone’s rights. It just sounds like good common sense to me.

  8. Sandi Lanzarotta Chan says:

    I am wondering what is being considered to educate those who own guns on how to keep them safe from unauthorized use by those in the home. Is there anything that addresses that issue? Rather than try and stop those from having guns how about requiring them to take a class as part of the licensing process like we have to do to get and keep a driver’s license? Just a thought – Hope it helps. Sandi from Del Mar California

  9. THe Rev. Alison C. Lucas says:

    I support the statements of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
    2 / 2 / 2013.
    Rev. Alison C. Lucas

  10. Shari Derby says:

    Guns are not the problem. Problems lie in today’s weak minded attitudes and teachings (like this letter from the Presiding Bishop) being foisted on all of us in the Episcopal Church, young, middle and old alike.
    Why doesn’t the Presiding Bishop and others in our church speak out against the many children murdered every day by abortion?

  11. Citizens of the United States are 15 times more likely to be shot than citizens of any other developed country in the world! Each year 100,000 Americans are shot by guns and 30,000 die as a result. Every two years, more Americans die from gunfire than were killed in Vietnam, but they have no monument, and we have come to accept this as the cost for living in our country. This is insanity! Gun fire is the number one killer of children in our country. More children die from guns than cancer. Yet, we have placed more restrictions on toy guns than real guns. Do we not care to protect our children? It is clear that allowing our citizens to purchase any weapon and as many weapons as they like is not increasing our freedoms or making us safer. It is making us more vulernable and limiting our freedom to move about in safety. The Second Amendment has been grossly distorted. It allows for the right to bear arms so that a militia can be formed. We now have a strong miltary that makes this far less relevant as a measure. Most importantly, it does not state that we have a right to buy any kind of weapon that we desire or to be free to purchase military assault weapons or an unlimited supply of weapons and high capacity magazines. We cannot obtain a drivers license without going through a careful process. This isn’t the government trying to restrict our rights, but the government acknowleding that driving a car entails responsibilties and can be dangerous to the driver and to others. The same is true for owning a weapon. It should involve background checks and demands that we have taken a course to use it responsibly. Handguns pose the number threat among guns in our nation, and action must be taken to limit the widespread trafficking by straw buyers. What is now clear is that the NRA is an extremist organization that is little more than a front for the gun manufacturers and ammunition makers. The majority of NRA members support responsible gun restrictions, but the NRA supports ZERO gun restrictions. Go figure! Does this sound intilligent, safe or respectful of human life? The NRA has bought our politicians and scarred them to death about taking any action to make our country safer. It is wonderful to see our Presiding Bishop and other bishops and church leaders speaking out. The majority of Americans want stronger measures taken to insure a reduction of gun violence in our country. This won’t happen unless we demand our elected public servants to be less concerned about re-election and more concerned about protection of our citizenry. We also need to speak about and address the glorification of violence in our films, television programs and video games as well as do more to identify, care for and treat those who are mentally disturbed and could pose a harm to themselves and to others. For too long the Church has majored in minor issues. Working together to reduce gun violence in our society is a major issue that sane people expect our churches to champion. If not, how can we possibly claim to follow the Prince of Peace, when we buy into a culture of violence.

    • Theron Patrick says:

      Marek
      I am the NRA. I have been a member for 57 years. To say that I am an extremist is not only an insult to me, but is remarkably wrong, insensitive etc.
      I am a Veteran
      I am an Husband
      I am a Son
      I am a Father
      I am an American
      I am a Citizen
      I am an Episcopalian

      The majority of NRA members (about 4,700,000 of us) do not favor new gun laws because everything you claim as reasonable is actually rather unreasonable and will accomplish nothing but grief for Citizens.

  12. The following represents my opinions and I do not profess to speak for the Episcopal Church. I am fed up with those who cannot, or will not, be willing to make any compromises when it comes to taking action against the horrific slaughter of our fellow citizens, and the lives of our innocent children and grand-children. Again and again we must ask ourselves very fair questions: Where is God in all of this? What does it seriously mean to profess to be a Christian? What does Christianity teach us as it’s most very basic concepts? Jesus was willing to walk to his death as he would not give in on what he knew to be the “better ways of living.” Those ways are of God. For those who profess to be Christian may we also include the ways of Jesus the Christ. I am reminded time and time again of the story of the Greatest Commandment. Let us assume you who are reading this know how the story unfolds? We told to love all people as God loves us. Then why are millions not willing to make any type of love-based comprose when it comes to saving lives? The next victims could just as easily be your own famly members. No where are we immune to violence. Are you who grab your firearms and yell loudly that you will not give up your constitutional rights even willing to sit and listen to those who you perceive to be your enemy? Those who support some kinds of changes are not your enemy. Often we are our own worst enemy. Millions of us are also armed citizens, who try to use love, compassion, Christian ethics as we perceive them, and the common sense process of attempting to being pragmatic. We are all in this together and those who are trying to find and create ways to lesson the numbers of maniacal killings deserve to be listened to; just as we must respect your dignity by listening to your opinions. However, no-one of will be able accomplish anything if respect and dignity are not “lovingly” given to each other. What does it mean to resist ANY TYPE of weapons reform? What is truly behind the angry words of “No!” – to any compormise? Is it sometimes fear? If we live in fear then we cannot make good decisions. The person who wrote the editorial above mine speaks of evil people. Just who is evil and who defines what evil is? The potential evilness of humanity is often demonstrated by those who profess to be the experts about evil. The concept of: “those people over there are the really evil one’s” just doesn’t cut it. To progress we must seriously look within and use the mindset of Jesus when looking at our own opinions.

  13. In regards to my thoughts as expressed above I do apologize for the typos. Dan

  14. Theron Patrick says:

    Evil exists. That is a bold and Politically Incorrect statement. The killing field in Connecticut is at point. An evil man killed his mother, 20 children and 6 adults. Note that I said an evil man. I did not say an evil system, a failed system, the government, an evil thing etc. It was the evil act of a man. His sole intent was to cause the most anguish and go out infamously. Evil cannot reside in an object. It cannot reside in a system. It can only reside in a soul.

    It is Politically Incorrect because somehow over much of the past century a part of the population has developed the belief that “the government” is responsible for and has the power to protect the individual from harm. To attribute this murder to a single evil man, who is dead signals a failure of “the government” to meet that expectation and robs the people of a target for revenge. A demand that the government “do something” is heard across the land. “If only the government would do ______” then this would not have happened” is the cry and is nonsense.

    Unfortunately there is damn little that “the Government” can do. The second half of new(ish) belief that “the government has the power to protect the individual, particularly the children, from harm” is not only wrong it is stupid. The primary persons responsible for our own security is We. That does not stop some from trying. The results are many times useless and often worse than doing nothing. With great fanfare the folks at local, state and federal levels as well as corporations and other institutions turned many places into “weapon free zones.” Of course the law and policy that prohibits guns, knives, pepper spray ect. in certain places means nothing to evil.

    The effect of this law and policy at the killing fields in Sandy Hook is that the courageous men and women that stood up to evil had been disarmed by their own state so that they had no chance of stopping him but could only sacrifice their lives to slow evil down and give the children a few more seconds to escape. But the cry goes out from a few people that we have to do something. They say it is the evil black guns that are the problem. They say it is the 30 round magazines that is the problem. They say it is the Mental Health system that is the problem. They say it is the video games that cause the problem. Nonsense. The gun control initiatives our Presiding Bishop has espoused, like the “weapon free zones” are simply politicians/ policy makers making noise so that they can say they did something. The Mental Health system could use some attention and cash, but not just because of Sandy Hook. Trying to censor video games and/or movies is a fool’s errand.

    Please don’t say “do something.” Join me and my brother and sister vets in saluting the courageous women of Sandy Hook who gave the last full measure of devotion and praying for the souls of the innocent. (I try to leave the judgment of the evil to Him.) Then proceed with caution, thought and prayer.

    I suggest that we stop looking for easy answers that do nothing but sound good. A lie is a lie. I suggest that much like we have done with pilots, we permit the staffs of our schools to be armed. In this area like many areas of the citizen’s life we need to get the government out of the way. (Not a new thought on my part, Mr. Jefferson expressed this concept many times and is most often quoted “the government that governs least governs best, because the people discipline themselves.”)

    Respectfully
    Theron Patrick, Commander USCG (Ret.)

    • Karen Birr says:

      Thanks for your comments. Thanks for your service to our country. I don’t care about being ‘politically correct’. What Mr. Jefferson said those many years ago, STILL apply for today – no matter what some say. The Constitution is very viable today and should be protected from those who wish to say that it is not revelant in today’s society. In that case, there are those who say that about the Bible. Then what?

  15. Dan Odenweller says:

    The liberal element of society in this nation, and this church, seeks solutions to problems about which collateral damage is ignored. The end result leaves the honest, law abiding member of the society shortchanged. As a competitor in rifle marksmanship, my venue of choice is labelled High Pwer shooting with a Service Rifle in matches promoted by the government. I’ve lost count of the number of speakers who have asserted that “hunters and sportsmen have nothing to fear, we’re only going after the criminals with their assault rifles,” and point to an AR-15. Whoops, the Service Rifle of choice happens to be an AR-15, followed by an M1A, both of which are to be banned.

    But it is just a little white lie! Facilitated by a lack of an ethical or moral compass to guide the individual in their search for solutions.

    The conservative element of society, and this church is equally guilty of failing to be consistent in their arguments, like the inconsistency betwewen opposing abortion, but battlinhg for the death penalty. To the left we oppose the death penalty, but argue the viability of a fetus.

    With 2500 or more gun laws on the books, mayber it is time for a paradyme shift.

  16. Craig Foster says:

    It is interesting to me that the responders are not responding to the PB’s request. I hear a request for Congress to address gun violence, not take a away the rights of the 2nd Amendment. However, particularly on the streets, the issue is not about legal possession of weapons. It is about illegal possession of weapons used to wound and kill the youth of the inner cities. So other than affecting the profits of the gun manufacturers, what is wrong with a more stringent licensing procedure to stop the flow of weapons from the wholesalers and gun shows to the streets?

    • Steve Grech says:

      What is wrong is it is a slippery slope and your blanket condemnation of gun manufacturers is a sign of ignorance.

  17. Every time the Presiding Bishop preaches, she preaches against violence. The Gospel of Jesus is totally antithetical to violence. All the above talking points inspired by the NRA will not change that fact. What I read in the posted letters is evidence of idolatry–the idolatry of gun ownership. There is nothing in them to remind me of the God of Love and the sacrifice of Jesus. Let those who oppose these killing machines, speak up, please. May God have mercy on us and our children.

  18. In regards to the follow-up response to my letter by the retired USCG Commander I acknowledge the articulate way you can express yourself. However, I do not concede any point. Evil does exist and I am not referring to the fantasy image of what is referred to as a devil. If evil does not exist, and does/did not creep into the minds and actions of humanity – then you Commander would have had other employment since the military establishments of all countries would have no reason to exist. “Our” United States has become a very sad countey in regards to the continual and increasing slaughter of innocent (and some guilty) people.

    The sociological reasons are many, and theories are likewise numerous. What is happening now is not a matter of giving up our civil rights to own firearms. This is about doing what we can to at least slow down the increasing numbers of people who are injured or killed. Any military “type” weapon (and not just a self-defense or hunting firearm) has no reason to exist in the hands of ordinary citizens. Just this morning there is a report of an ex-Navy sniper who was killed by another military man who has signs of post traumatic stress issues. I mention this as even highly trained military people and law enforcement civilians have the ability to destroy and kill at will. I was trained during Vietnam how to do the same. My point being that the firepower of military type weapons – and the availibilty of clips and magazines which will hold numerous bullets are just too dangerous to be so readily available. If and when another slaughter occurs I pray that our civilian law enforcement members will not be over-powered; which can likewise lead to our peace officers being easy to kill.

    So as to not create grounds for a “civil rebellion” buy those who support our military systems I acknowledge that I respect your military avocation and I respect your rank. I also believe we must have a highly trained and well armed military establishment – as evil does exist. Again, evil is not something which floats through the air, attacks people and causes subsequent mental disorders. Evil is something which is natural to the make-up of all humanity. Can it be explained to the satisfaction of all people? Of course not.

    Yes, my comments were written to hopefully stiir up the emotions of some. By stirring up emotions perhaps some will go into a time of discernment during which the acknowledgement that something (which is just a part of the carnage scenario) must be done – and it must begin yesterday.

    I too served in the military during Vietnam and I also have a defensive type firearm. Perhaps that possibly implies that I too have some knowldege of that which I speak? It is now getting to be close to time when I need to be with our congregation. And yes, I will read the letter from our Presiding Bishop which arrives yesterday by e-mail. I will like-wise urge our communicants to call our Congressional representatives and voice their opinion. This being regardless of which side of any fence they may be on. I respect your opinions and we do disagree on some issues. But I do believe you to be an honorable man who loves his country, and who also loves your extended family. I do ask: What would Jesus do in this situation?

  19. Wilbur Walkoe says:

    It seems that the arguments presented against gun control boil down to the basic claim that “Gun control is not the answer.” Guess what: There is no such thing as THE ANSWER to any major social problem.

    But the truth is that in every place and every generation there are some downright lunatics who are going to cause trouble in any way they can. If those folks can equip themselves with high-capacity firearms, the amount of trouble they can cause is extreme. In the absence of effective background checks for firearms purchases, any nut case can buy serious firepower whenever he wants to do so. An those folks really will do a lot more damage if they can rapidly fire dozens of rounds without reloading. Our armed forces provide high-capacity weapons even to expert shooters precisely because this does make them more dangerous.

    Still, a lot more than governmental action is needed.

    It is true that the vast majority of gun owners do not go around shooting people. They hunt; they shoot on target ranges ; they keep a handgun in the house because they believe it provides them with more protection than risk. But the needed complement to regulating gun sales is to make it harder for lunatics to get their hands on weapons that were purchased legally. Responsible gun ownership means more than just not going on a shooting spree, and organizations that represent gun owners would do themselves and the rest of us a big favor by supporting responisble ownership with education and peer pressure.

    So, no, the government isn’t the only outfit we should all be asking to address the problem of gun violence. Many other good examples have been proposed. But the government can help this cause a lot, and it’s time they got on with it!

  20. Karen Birr says:

    I can’t really understand your stand on this issue.

  21. David S. Halsted, M.D., F.A.C.S. says:

    I think I’ve a reason to believe in TEC again. So nice to hear the “view from the pew.”

  22. Stephen Becroft says:

    I don’t understand the claim that ‘guns don’t kill people….’ People wield the guns, but the guns clearly kill–in fact, regrettably, that is sometimes why people wield them. So, to reduce the killing, let’s have sensible restrictions. By all means enforce existing laws. In addition, since we require our soldiers to pass basic training, and would-be drivers to pass written and practical tests, and both are periodically re-tested for competence, we should do the same for gun owners. And since we register each car to its owner, let’s do the same with guns. In fact, this supports our 2nd amendment rights–surely a militia should be appropriately trained. Other useful proposals have been made. Of course they are not the whole answer–it is not possible to legislate human nature away. No doubt combating ‘the culture of violence’ is useful if it is possible, but many proposals with this goal have been in conflict with other constitutional provisions.

  23. MaryAnn Sonntag says:

    Ban on some weapons would be best option
    Point of View Safety In Schools…The Oklahoman newspaper
    BY MARYANN SONNTAGFEBRUARY 2, 2013
    I am a retired teacher, counselor and principal. I am also a wife, mother and grandmother of elementary-age schoolchildren. My 35 years of experience have been in school systems in the Northeast, South and Midwest. And yes, I was raised near Newtown, Conn. So today’s issue of gun violence hits close to home.
    I don’t own a gun. I wasn’t raised in a gun-owner milieu. However, I’ve had friends, neighbors and colleagues who own guns. I respect the right of our citizens to possess firearms for hunting and self-protection. I do agree with these friends that military-style assault weapons and large magazine clips aren’t part of hunting deer, quail or the like. They’re meant for mass shootings.

    More importantly, I want to speak about assault weapons and large magazine clips as they relate to schools. Educators are in the profession to instruct and guide. They’re not meant to be armed guards. While I do think that a police presence at schools is necessary, I disagree with arming teachers. I’ve worked closely with sheriffs who were assigned to my schools and these individuals became part of the school family, helping me in many ways.

    However, one police officer doesn’t guarantee protection from a mass shooter. If a perpetrator wants to enter a school even with locked entrances, he or she can find a way. My concern is that the perpetrator has easy access to assault weapons and large magazine clips. By the time that one police officer can get to the shooter, many young people and staff could be killed. Having an officer in a school isn’t the only answer. Banning assault weapons and large magazine clips is a more reasonable approach.

    It’s said that schools need lockdown drills. I’ve held too many in my career. I’ve had SWAT team practices in my schools after hours to prepare local police for a mass shooting. Do you know how difficult it is to explain to students that they need to practice hiding in their classrooms from those who possess weapons whose sole purpose is the mass shooting of the innocent? These lockdowns alone scare the children. Principals now must be prepared to protect students and staff from mass shootings when our job is to educate. We need to consider the reasons why these new drills have become necessary.

    What will it take for our legislators to ban assault weapons and sale of large magazine clips? What will it take for required background checks for all gun/rifle purchases? What will it take for changes in the mental health reporting systems to keep guns from the unstable? And most importantly, is the protection of our citizenry less important than re-election?

    Sonntag has taught and served as an administrator at the elementary, middle school and high school levels in North Carolina, Michigan, Louisiana and Connecticut.

  24. Gloria Rousseau says:

    The constitution also states the people have a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. That was all taken away from twenty seven children and adults by one person exercising the right to bear arms and another mentally unstable person with access to those firearms.

    • Steve Grech says:

      It was taken away by evil people not the second amendment. Don’t believe in the devil?

    • Robert Childress says:

      Get a history book!!! The phrase you quote is not from the Constitutiion. It is from the Declaration of Independence. While you are studying history, check out Nazi gun control laws of the 1930s.

  25. Robert Childress says:

    Presiding Bishop Katherine Jeffords-Schori ‘call in action on gun violence’ is very misguided. It reflects the Obama-Feinstein position that has been so well publicized by the ‘in the tank’ media that inundates all of us. Many have naively responded supporting PB Schori’s position. The real need for ‘action on gun violence’ needs to be focused on the Obama administration itself.

    Where was the concern of PB Schori and others during the “Fast and Furious” debacle where large numbers of weapons were willingly supplied by the U.S. Government to Mexican Drug Cartels? This U.S. Government (aka Obama administration) was responsible for the deaths literally thousand of people in Mexico along with Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The silence is deafening.

    Where is the concern about potential for future wide spread violence from the current U. S. Government administration? There is silence on Homeland Security acquiring 7,000 select fire ARs (that the kind that has real full automatic capability). There is also silence about the acquisition of 1.7 billion (that’s right…billion) rounds of hollow point ammunition by Homeland Security.
    Is this part of some genocidal plan?

    The “ gun control plan” by Obama/Feinstein and supported by PB Schori, et. al. is nothing but a ruse for eventual confiscation followed by a total and complete ban of firearms from the American public. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership web site (http://www.jpfo.net/) is replete with the horrible and chilling results of gun control. No one can dispute these well documented historical examples.
    (Please see http://jpfo.net/pdf02/genocide-chart.pdf for The JPFO Genocide Chart.)

    The following is a disturbing quote form the above referenced website:

    “…… Hatred + Government + Disarmed Civilians = Genocide
    What makes the argument so powerful?

    Two factors. First, it makes common sense: unarmed defenseless people have no hope against armed aggressors. Second, it states the historical truth: evil governments did wipe out 170,000,000 innocent non-military lives in the 20th Century alone.. ……
    When the gun prohibitionists quote a statistic about how many people are killed by firearms misuse, the discussion sometimes bogs down into whose crime statistics to believe and how to count crimes vs. the defensive firearm uses.
    In the 20th Century:

    Governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined.• Governments murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals.
    How could governments kill so many people? The governments had the power – and the people, the victims, were unable to resist. The victims were unarmed.”

    The “gun control” put forth by Obama/Feinstein and supported by PB Schori et. al. clearly hearkens back to Nazi Weapons Law of 1938. How well did this work for German democracy? Gun Control leading to genocide is the worst kind of hatred and evil.

    Anything having to do with the Nazi era has no place this country or in any church. It is the worst kind of hatred and certainly is contrary to orthodox Christian teaching.

    Of course though, the Reichskirche did support the Nazi Government in the 1930s and in WWII, Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    PB Schori’s remarks only reference gun violence. Why? Should not this be a statement about all violence in society? Obviously absent from PB Schori’s statement was any remark about the Good News of the Gospel. Bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the hearts of the people is the real way to address the issue of violence. That is the real essence of the church. I wish PB Schori would comment on that.

  26. Larry Criswell says:

    Guns are not the issue and I do not need the bishop to espouse her own leftist view points on this issue. Mental health should be the priority here. I hope the bishop will read the above comments and then keep her opinions that are hostile to the US Constitutions second amendment to herself.

  27. Robert DuBose says:

    Some of your correspondents have been paying too much attention to NRA propaganda. Guns in the US are out of control. The situation is insane, and getting worse. Kudos to our presiding Bishop. I hope my Bishop will support her. Please note the following:

    In the US there are 10.2 gun-related deaths (2012) per 100,000 population (figures from CDC and UN).

    Number of gun-related deaths of countries with equivalent economic development to US (UN figures):
    Japan 0.07
    South Korea 0.13
    Hong Kong 0.19
    Singapore 0.24
    UK 0.25
    Taiwan 0.42
    Spain 0.63
    India 0.93
    Ireland 1.03
    Australia 1.05
    Germany 1.10
    Greece 1.50
    Italy 1.28
    Norway 1.78
    Israel 1.86
    New Zealand 2.66
    Austria 2.94
    France 3.00
    Switzerland 3.50
    Finland 3.64
    Canada 4.78

    I feel for Canada. Their guns are creating almost 46% of people grieving loved ones as we are …perhaps propinquity.

    • Steve Grech says:

      There are approximately 350 million weapons (i.e. guns) in the US. try a percentage of guns to gun deaths-I think you will be surprised.

    • Robert Childress says:

      There is no, I repeat no credibility to anything spewed out by the UN. These are the malevolent tyrants that brought you the IPCC and the great AGW hoax, the dangerously flawed small weapons ban treaty. Of course, who could forget Agenda 21 and the sustainability push? Can you say “labensraum”? That was the Nazi concept of sustainability. The PB didn’t in her 2012 Lenten message pushing UN MDGs. How is it we keep getting back to the Nazis?

    • Theron Patrick says:

      60% of the gun related deaths are suicide. If someone is going to commit suicide they will find a way.

      20% are inflicted by police officers in stopping a crime.

      The defensive use by citizens does not show up all that much because the armed citizen does not shoot unless his life or the life of others is at stake. In other words if the perpetrator turns and runs the citizen does not shoot so there are no deaths to report. How many lives were saved by the citizen having a gun. I have no idea, but I know of two personally.

  28. Jesse Glenn says:

    I was pleased to read this message. It is good to find that there is something concrete that members of the church can do to forward this cause. However, I would also like to see the Presiding Bishop encourage sensible reformation of the Mental Health System. Every time one of these horrible events occur, those with mental health issues are focused on in an unfavorable light. The reality is that the vast majority of people with mental health issues are not and never will be a threat to anyone. Equally true is that they receive substandard services from a system that is difficult, at times impossible, to navigate. We need to be at the forefront of advocacy for justice and fairness in the treatment of mental health issues. Ironically, if we do this we will take a step forward in curbing those few folks with mental health issues that commit these heinous acts.

  29. Marilyn Hedrick says:

    I don’t have a gun in my house. I don’t want one. I wouldn’t kill an intruder anyway. Remember that commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill”. Plain enough for me. I don’t fear death because I am sure of where I am going. The New Testament and Jesus’s life teach us to love one another. I don’t think having a bunch of mad or good people armed to the hilt would be obeying the teaching of the Bible. If people are so scared, they should get a buglar alarm.

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