Presiding Bishop issues ‘call to action’ on gun violence

Posted Feb 1, 2013

[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 (42)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

    3. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Comments are closed.