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.