February 12, 2013

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Testifies for Gun Restrictions

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church submitted written testimony on February 12 to a Senate panel considering gun control measures. (photo credit: David Jolkovski/Religion News Service.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church submitted written testimony on February 12 to a Senate panel considering gun control measures. (Photo credit: David Jolkovski/Religion News Service)

By Jeff Walton (@JeffreyHWalton)

Today marks Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding Ash Wednesday when Anglicans, Lutherans and Catholics traditionally emptied their cupboards of eggs, milk and sugar before the ritual fasting of Lent. But while Episcopalians will be serving pancakes, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is serving up written testimony to a U.S. Senate subcommittee urging Americans to empty their ammunition magazines.

In comments prepared for the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on “Proposals to reduce gun violence: protecting our communities while respecting the Second Amendment,” the Episcopal Church official decries “massacres in suburban schools and routine death on the streets of our cities.” “Curbs” on weaponry are suggested as limiting violence, but no correlation is made between the success or failure of existing gun control measures, increased gun ownership and a nationwide decrease in violent crime.

Three points are outlined by Jefferts Schori: first, examining the glorification and trivialization of violence and “how civility is lived out in our national affairs, particularly the rhetoric that diminishes and demonizes those who hold competing opinions.”

Second, Jefferts Schori asks lawmakers to address mental health, offering positive words about legislation sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the “Excellence in Mental Health Act” and to treat mental healthcare “as a budgetary priority.”

Finally, the Episcopal Church bishop bemoans an accessibility to guns by those prone to commit crimes, “and the danger posed by the increasingly lethal character of both the weaponry and ammunition available.”

Qualifying her comments by writing that “The Episcopal Church supports the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” Jefferts Schori clarifies that “law-abiding gun owners are not responsible for the crimes we are discussing today and should not be the focus of our responses to those crimes.”

Jefferts Schori  reports that the church stands “for tighter curbs on weaponry designed primarily to enable more effective killing of other human beings, such as what are commonly referred to as military-style assault rifles.”

“I urge lawmakers to press for comprehensive and universal background checks for firearm ownership, regardless of where and how a gun is purchased; for bans on the availability to civilians of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines; and for policies designed to better regulate the manufacture of guns,” the Presiding Bishop testified.

While the Episcopal Church official referenced previous General Convention resolutions on gun violence, her lone scriptural reference is from Zechariah chapter 8 verses 4-6: “old men and women shall again sit in the streets…And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.”

“As Christians, we believe that all God’s people should be able to live in peace,” Jefferts Schori explained.

The Presiding Bishops’ testimony follows a national call-in day on February 4, in which Jefferts Schori urged Episcopalians to contact their members of Congress and advocate for additional firearms restrictions.


  • http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/ eMatters

    If she really wants to reduce violence, she should start by reversing her radical pro-abortion stance. Another 3,000+ innocent but unwanted human beings were crushed and dismembered again today with her blessing.

  • Jeremy Baines

    I’m so glad to hear her quote the Bible to back up her stance. She sure doesn’t do that for any other issue, especially since most of her positions are clearly NOT backed up by the Bible.

  • Greg P

    “Jefferts Schiori asks lawmakers to address mental health.” This coming from someone who heads a denomination that boasts about having transgender clergy.

    News flash: If you want to “address mental health,” I’m not sure “lawmakers” are the ideal people for that. Then again, they’d probably do as well as any gaggle of mainline clergy.

  • http://Pryor Walt

    These heretics are a disgrace to God and the Bible. Satan is very subtle. He moves these minds around like chess pieces. According the the Will of Satan these heretics perform. Of these people Christ will say; I never knew you! Most horrible and terrifying words a human can ever hear.
    We are not trying to set up a perfect earthly kingdom. Christ said this world is evil, this world will pass away, and do not love this world or anything in it. Trouble with Social Churches who never preach obedience is, they leave themselves open to seduction by Satan. These left wingers think they are God and try to make this world into something it is not and never will be. They compromise with evil movements in the name of love. They cannot see the evil because their eyes are veiled by there own pride and importance. No Obedience, no salvation.

  • Mark

    That’s the best Bible verse she could come up with for this issue? This is a lady trying to become relevant as she continues to secularize (and therefore lessen) her church’s spiritual witness.

  • Gabe

    “Three points are outlined by Jefferts Schori: first, examining the glorification and trivialization of violence and “how civility is lived out in our national affairs, particularly the rhetoric that diminishes and demonizes those who hold competing opinions.””

    Seriously? Does she say this while keeping a straight face? It was within the last month that she was in South Carolina giving the most angry, hateful speech during TEC conference there. Not only that, but her entire tenure has seen such rancor for evangelicals within her denomination that they left her with empty churches (after a rancorous public legal battle) which she is now refusing to serve to these healthy and growing breakaway communities.

    Well done Schori, well done.

  • J S Lang

    If there’s anyone who knows about demonizing competing opinions, it’s her.

  • Greg P

    This woman is on the record as saying that “the great western heresy is that we can be saved as individuals.” That certainly is bad news to the penitent thief on the cross – plus several billion other people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomsramekjr Tom Sramek Jr

    Walt: Actually, the Bible says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to the end that we should not parish, but have everlasting life. god did not send his son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” The early world-haters were the Gnostics, and they were condemned as heretics. Finally, your lack of humility in presuming to know exactly what God will say to, and do with, “those people” is astounding. I think you may be quite surprised in who shows up in heaven alongside you.