January 30, 2013

Interfaith Group Meets on Capitol Hill to Discuss Gun Violence

Church Synagogue

(Photo credit: Joe Bradford)

By Aaron Gaglia

On Monday and Tuesday, an interfaith group of religious leaders met on Capitol Hill to talk about gun violence in America. This group included faith leaders from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and was headed by Michael McBride of the PICO national network, a non-profit that brings social reform to communities through faith based congregations and centers. McBride, head of PICO’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign, a movement designed to address violence and crime in communities, facilitated the discussions.

McBride commented on the gathering in an interview with the Washington Post yesterday and here are some of the highlights from the interview.

He began by describing what these faith leaders have been doing at the gathering.

“We’ve been here for the last two days speaking and thinking and praying, reflecting and dreaming together about how we can heal the soul of America from this scourge of gun violence.”

He then went on to speak very optimistically about the progress the group had made.

“So we’ve been able to agree as faith leaders from multiple faith traditions on a common sense solution, set some proposals, and we’ve been able to produce a faith statement, a unifying faith statement that expresses our aspiration to heal the soul of America from gun violence.”

When asked about what they are going to do, he began by speaking of the responsibility faith leaders have to unify people around this issue: “… as faith leaders we have the power through our moral authority to push our leaders and our congregations and our people to agree on common sense solutions.”

He then expressed three action steps these leaders supported—universal background checks, removing war weapons from their communities, and investing in urban neighborhoods with a focus on those most affected by gun violence.

In addition to meeting among themselves, they also met with White House Officials on Tuesday to discuss these issues.

McBride ended by mentioning that March 9th and 10th will be Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath and Sunday.

“All across this country we’ll have hundreds of congregations joining us to lift up our voices to speak out against gun violence and to push for common sense solutions to this problem.”

Though a copy of the faith statement and other official materials are unavailable at this time, we can expect to hear more from them in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can read the Washington Post interview here.


  • Ray Bannister

    “March 9th and 10th will be Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath and Sunday.”

    This will have as much effect on gun violence as burying a dead cat in a cemetery to cure warts. Ditto for any effect on Muslim violence toward Christians. If you want to know how effective these “interfaith” hugfests/photo-ops are, ask the Israelis.

  • http://sacredstruggler.wordpress.com sacredstruggler

    This fantastic and inspiring. If we could effect some change on the first level, we could see real change. We all should realize at this point that more guns won’t help. If someone wants to kills someone they will find a way, but if we can address where that comes from we have chance.
    Ignore Ray. Love this!

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    Hi y’all. Everyone here seems awfully high and mighty about how wrong and absurd everyone else’s ideas are about how to keep people from shooting other people. I do think everyone here would agree on “Thou shalt not kill” whether it be with a gun or a baseball bat—or whatever else. I think the time has come for you geniuses here at THE IRD (including your stable of wet behind the ears interns) to present your innovative ideas on how to stop “whackos” from engaging in mass murder on the streets, in our schools, and our front porches. Here in the Knoxville area, particularly in the black enclaves, one of the really popular things is to do drive-by pops at people sitting on their front porches.

    Instead of criticizing everyone else for trying Mr. Bannister, perhaps you could realize that you and everyone else at The IRD have a stake in this too. I think John F. Kennedy said to U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay the same thing that I would say to Mark Tooley and the rest of you people. Check out the movie trailer for “Thirteen Days” and watch for Kennedy and General LeMay:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSA7Evcy7iE

  • Ben Welliver

    I’ll pass on the movie. Paying money to see pacifist propaganda is poor stewardship.

    Human beings have a right to defend themselves, also an obligation to defend children. Guns can kill innocent people. Guns can also kill killers – or, even better, make the killer retreat – or, even better, make potential killers realize that there are no gun-free zones where they can count on mowing innocent people down with no interference. What is there about this that is so difficult to grasp? Maybe it’s time we conservatives used the same approach to guns as liberals do to abortion: If you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one. If you think it’s wrong to own a gun, don’t own one. As liberals so often say, stop trying to impose your convictions on someone else. Just because you are a pathetic craven coward who won’t make an effort to defend yourself, don’t assume everyone else is like you. I mean, that is what this is all about, right? Cowards trying to make themselves sound saintly.

    Liberals are self-righteous and stupid – not a good combination.

    Keep up the good work, IRD, and pay no mind to these lemming liberals. People who won’t even grant human beings the dignity of defending themselves are not people who deserve to be taken seriously.