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As victims of Tucson shooting rampage recover,
New York, January 11, 2011 -- As Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lies in critical condition in an Arizona hospital and other innocent shooting victims make hopeful recoveries, religious leaders around the nation continue to express grief and anger over the January 8 Tucson shooting rampage.
"It's hard to assess the tragedy in any way that makes sense," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches. "Clearly the overheated political climate in this country is provocative and unhealthy. The constant use of guns and ammo metaphors in political rhetoric may lead an unbalanced person to think it's okay to bring guns to public meetings."
Kinnamon's comments came on the eve of a memorial service Wednesday for six who died in the attack, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. President and Michelle Obama will attend the service.
Kinnamon said he hoped other media executives will follow the lead of Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, and tell their commentators to "tone it down, make your arguments intellectually."
But regardless of the political tone, the major problem, and the underlying reason behind Saturday's events, "is that guns of all kinds are too easy to get by anyone who wants one," Kinnamon said.
He called on sporting and gun advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association "to help us make new rules about gun ownership in light of this and other shooting disasters."
The NRA "is known across the country as the best place to go to learn how to use guns safely for hunting and sport," Kinnamon said. "It's hard to understand how a rational safety program can coexist with lobbying for the right of people to own semi-automatic concealed weapons that can carry more than 30 rounds in a clip. It doesn't make sense, nor is it consistent with the gospel."
An NCC resolution adopted by the Governing Board in May
2010 notes that 100,000 Americans are killed by guns each year. "Ending Gun
Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action by the National Council of
Churches" calls for "developing avenues for dialogue among gun owners and
gun control advocates within our congregations, and offering a faithful
witness in cooperating with inter-faith and nonreligious anti-gun violence
Kinnamon said the member communions of the NCC continue to pray for the recovery of Giffords and other victims of the shootings.
Heeding God's Call
Heeding God’s Call, the faith-based movement to prevent gun violence, expressed sadness at the predictable loss of life and damage to society, and called for citizens and the faith community to ‘step up’ and take the country from those who would use the deadly mix of guns and political extremism to endanger democracy and sell guns.
Rev. James McIntire of
McIntire continued: “The faith community must act to combat the insidious
initiatives and motives of those who would encourage gun violence by
allowing the gun lobby to hold the field. I and many others of faith
are eager to act to reduce the carnage. We seek to bring the
faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, Heeding God’s
Call, to our state and nation. Heeding has enjoyed success in
Rabbi Linda Holzman of Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in Philadelphia said: “I call on all of my sisters and brothers of all faiths to take courage, get off your couches and out of your homes to bring this country to a place of safety and sanity where persons like the Tucson shooter cannot easily acquire guns and where there is no tolerance for those who would use the deadly mix of guns and extremism to seek power or disrupt our democracy. It is high time the faithful in this country said no to extremists and the gun industry and lobby. We can no longer allow their narrow single-mindedness and selfishness to dictate policies and laws.”
Rev. Isaac Miller, former Rector of The Church of the Advocate in North
Philadelphia, said: “The massacre in
The organization Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is asking its members to note the number of rounds this weapon could hold. The organization has added to its Prevent Gun Violence Resolution a call for action to "decrease the firepower available to civilians by prohibiting high capacity ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds." The Glock pistol used in the attacks had an extended magazine containing 31 rounds.
Religious leaders call for calm, civility
By Daniel Burke
(RNS) Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas
was thousands of miles away from the shooting rampage that rocked his
Arizona diocese on Saturday (Jan. 8), but the emotional shock hit him hard.
Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said a
lack of respect for human dignity -- political opponents included --
underlies society's incivility problem.
the accused shooter's intentions are unknown, Americans cannot ignore the
country's increasing culture of violence, particularly in political
discourse, said Rabbi David Saperstein, whose
Religious Action Center of Reform
Judaism has worked closely with Giffords.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
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