By Jeff Walton (@JeffreyHWalton)
An interfaith group initiated by Rabbi David Saperstein’s Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism is launching a national call-in campaign today, asking congregants to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support additional restrictions on firearms. The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and United Church of Christ each issued their own statements encouraging participation in the call-in.
According to a press release provided by the group, participants include the National Council of Churches, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, the Islamic Society of North America, Bishop T.D. Jakes and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Liberal standbys, including PICO National Network, Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK, the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society and Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal) are also listed.
In their statements, church officials cited instances of gun violence, and then listed four policy changes for churchgoers to advocate: limits on sales of “military-style” weapons and high-capacity magazines, background checks for all gun purchases, improved access to mental health services, and attention to gun trafficking.
“The Spirit is moving across this land to mobilize people of faith to act,” declared Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who personally authored her church’s own statement.
Quoting Zechariah’s prophecy of a repopulated and peaceful Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church prelate announced that “all God’s people should be able to live in peace” and reminded that “even if this seems impossible, with God it is not.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness was slightly less grandiose in their announcement, acknowledging that “there are differences in viewpoint and we ask you to convey whichever policies with which you are comfortable.”
The United Church of Christ also acknowledged that “the public dialogue about gun violence can quickly become divisive” and urged support for laws to prevent gun violence, outlining the same four points as the other church lobby groups.
“Tested by our grief, resolute in our faith we remain committed to continuing this drumbeat,” the UCC statement promised.
The National Council of Churches provided sample social media posts as well as pulpit and bulletin announcements as well as linking to their “Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath” materials developed for earlier in January.
The national call-in day follows a recent press conference at the Washington National Cathedral, in which officials touted their own history of gun control advocacy and rededicated their faith groups to further restricting firearms.