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1999 NCC News Archives

Clergy Join Mayors, Police Chiefs to Ask Stronger Gun Control

September 9, 1999, WASHINGTON, D.C. - Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders joined mayors, police chiefs and Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate on the U.S. Capitol steps today (Sept. 9) to call on Congress to close loopholes in current gun laws by supporting "responsible and effective gun control legislation."

"People of faith all across this land are grateful to all public officials willing to take a stand against violence and against weapons that turn anger and despair into violence and murder," said the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, at the 12:30 p.m. rally, called by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Surrounded by the public officials, Dr. Campbell and three other prominent religious leaders each offered prayers of hope, remembering victims and their families, and prophetic prayers, invoking the scriptural lessons of love, peace, dignity and respect.

"Each of the Abrahamic faith traditions understands violence to be a failure of the human spirit, a denial of the ethic of love and life to which we are called," Dr. Campbell said. "Banning guns will not end all violence, but it will go a long way toward keeping our children safe.

"Today we pray for our schools, for the children, the teachers, the parents. Today we applaud public officials willing to take a stand against weapons of destruction. Today we as people of faith promise to redouble our efforts to teach love and to live in our communities as activists for safety. Scripture teaches us that the life of a child is precious and that anyone who harms a child or who stands in the way of a childís development is sinful in Godís eyes. We are to make the world safe for all children."Representing the NCC along with Dr. Campbell was the Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell, New York, NCC Deputy General Secretary for National Ministries. The other religious leaders speaking were the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, Executive Director of The Interfaith Alliance; Washington, D.C.; Rabbi David Saperstein, Executive Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Imam Gaith Kashif (Washington, D.C.), Imam of Masjid As-Shura.

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