[Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta] The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, bishop of Atlanta issued the following statement:
Brothers and Sisters.
In the aftermath of the horror of Las Vegas, I ask you to remember and pray for the souls of those who have died, including Mr. Paddock. I encourage you to seek the comfort we find in Christ Jesus.
Holy Scripture reminds us that we are to “… rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” It is an important part of what makes us human. Even though Las Vegas is more than fifteen hundred miles from Georgia, we are nevertheless connected with the men and women struck down and the loved ones they left behind by our ability to empathize and have compassion.
So, we pray. We reach to God in familiar words to remember the dead and send our positive psychic and spiritual energy to those still in shock and who will grieve for years to come. But let us remember also, Jesus was a man of prayer and of action. Prayer must be prelude to action. Prayer with no corresponding action is a useless and vain exercise. Most importantly, prayer without action is not the faith Jesus practiced!
My sincere prayer is that the lives of those killed in Las Vegas will not be in vain. I still believe that America is a great country! I still believe we can accomplish great things together. I believe we can affirm the Second Amendment, protect the rights of hunters and sportsman and enact common sense gun laws that put into practice intelligent safety measures.
This is not a partisan sentiment. Morgues and cemeteries are not divided by political affiliation. And families do not cry red or blue tears. This is about coming to the realization that moments of silence and prayer will not, of themselves, make us safer. What will make us safer is ordinary people like you and I, from every political stripe, finding the courage to act.
Jesus often asked men and women he encountered, “What do you want?” I put his question to all of us, “What do you want”? I want an America where we are less afraid and more neighborly. An America where it is more difficult to get a semi-automatic weapon or high capacity magazines than it is to get a bottle of Sudafed. I want an America where special interests like the National Rifle Association don’t control our elected officials with campaign donations that render them spineless.
I want an America where law enforcement officers are better equipped to keep us safe than criminals are equipped to do us harm. These are not Democratic dreams or Republican dreams. This is an American dream that can save us from our present American nightmare.
What makes these kind of dreams a reality is when you and I, strengthened by prayer and our fellowship together, take seriously the words that we Episcopalians use to end our Eucharist:
… Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, please let me be in yours.
Bishop Robert C. Wright
The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta