Religious congregations around the nation are coming together to address the epidemic of gun violence in the wake of the Newton tragedy. A national faith group called PICO is organizing a “Violence Prevention Sabbath” on March 10 and 17 and is encouraging pastors to preach on this topic and inspire their congregation to take appropriate action. Over 150 congregations have signed on so far. Pastor McBride, director of the PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign, a faith-based effort to reduce gun violence, writes:
My partners in gun violence advocacy are anxious to cooperate with everyone and anyone, from President Obama down to the high schoolers in our pews, not just to advance gun violence reduction, but to change our culture and save lives. We’ll mark Inauguration Weekend as a Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath; houses of worship across America will incorporate the message of ending gun violence into our worship, as we remind ourselves and each other that every shooting statistic represents a life lost, a family shattered.
Last month I wrote a reflection called "Guns and the Gospel" that looks at gun violence from a biblical perspective. See http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2013/02/guns-and-gospels.html
For other resources, see http://www.piconetwork.org/tools-resources/gun-violence-prevention-sabbath-resources
To learn more about how faith communities across the nation are supporting this campaign, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sally-steenland/faith-communities-step-up-against-gun-violence_b_2440032.html
Sojourners, an Evangelical group committed to social justice, has launched a campaign against the “idolatry of guns” and has a lot of biblically based resources on this topic:
Here are other resources that address gun violence from various religious perspectives:
This is also an opportunity to support the policies advocated by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which has been endorsed by the mayor of Pasadena. See http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
The Friends Committee on Legislation (a Quaker lobbying group in Washington, DC) has joined with 45 other faith leaders calling for universal criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime. Learn more at Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.
The major components of legislation that Congress is considering are listed below. When you call your Senators and Representative, let them know that you are calling as a member of the faith community, and emphasize those of the policies which you support.Require universal background checks for all gun purchases
- Ban semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime
- Improve access to mental health services
- Tell them that gun violence prevention laws work
After a tragic mass shooting in Australia in 1996, the government organized a mass gun buyback program and the national murder rate dropped in half, and there have been no more mass shootings.Require universal background checks for all gun purchases
More than 3,000 children and teens (30,000 people total) die in the United States each year as a result of guns — either by murder, suicide, or accidents. Three tragic gun-related deaths have occurred in Pasadena since Christmas 2012.
It doesn't have to be this way.
If the community works together to end gun violence, we can make a huge difference.
The San Fernando Valley Chapter of the Brady Campaign invites clergy, faith leaders, and members of faith communities to:
Communities of Faith
Address Gun Violence
Representatives of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Women Against Gun Violence will present resources for education and action for faith community involvement in gun violence prevention.
Tuesday, March 5
Emerson Unitarian-Universalist Church
7304 Jordan Ave., Canoga Park, CA 91303
Please RSVP by March 1 Light lunch and
Virginia Classick dessert