Gun Violence: The Work Goes On
The North Carolina Council of Churches has long cared about gun violence prevention — you would… Continue Reading
Date: Proper 26 – Nov. 3, 2013
Topic: Gun Violence
Focus Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
What poverty of spirit causes Americans to so glorify their guns – in movies, on television, in video games, on the streets of our neighborhoods and in the halls of Congress? Where are the prophets who will condemn the religion of the second amendment which preaches a sacred right to own any and all kinds of firearms? Why are people of faith and conscience not protecting the sacred trust of children’s lives as vehemently as Congress protects the gun lobby? It is time for pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams to speak out against the blasphemy of gun violence.
After a one-day organizational meeting in early January, the 2013 General Assembly convened in earnest last Wednesday. Bills introduced and advanced during these first two days give a taste of things to come. Note especially the bills affecting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, weakening the benefits of unemployment insurance, and extending the presence of guns.
Click here for a free download of our new 2013 social justice study for Lent: Preparing the Way. This simple 10-page document combines traditional Lenten themes and Bible passages with contemporary issues including hunger, care of creation, and immigration. We invite you to join us in this season of reflection and preparation.
The General Assembly leadership is committed to having this short session truly be short, and there’s talk of adjourning by early July. In fact, an adjournment resolution was introduced yesterday with a target date of June 19. This session, which starts in May of even-numbered years, is primarily to tweak the second year of the budget adopted the year before. In addition, certain bills which were introduced last year (mostly ones which passed in one house) can be considered. For a new bill to be introduced this year, it must fit into one of a few specific categories, with most new bills having to do with budgetary matters or coming from a study commission which met during the interim. Finally, pending veto overrides are also thought by the House and Senate leadership to be eligible for consideration.
Raleigh News & ObserverA gathering on a hillside outside a church in West Raleigh late Sunday marked the one-year anniversary since a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., left a federal judge and five other people dead and 13 injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Organizers used the occasion to highlight a shifting focus in what has been a decades-long effort to promote legislation aimed at limiting people’s access to guns.
Instead, there is a growing focus on using churches and other faith-based efforts to promote a change in how the American culture views guns, they said. It’s also an acknowledgement that work in legislatures across the country have been met with resistance to many anti-gun measures.
The General Assembly returned to Raleigh in July for what was, in reality, Round Two of its 2011 Long Session. The primary tasks were to take up overrides on bills Governor Perdue had vetoed and to adopt redistricting plans for U.S. Congressional districts and for the state House and Senate.
The 2011 session of the General Assembly adjourned around midday on Saturday, June 18. Legislative leaders and the media are trumpeting the efficiency of the session and the fact that this is the earliest adjournment since 1973. But that is misleading since they aren’t really finished with their work. The adjournment resolution calls them back into a special session on July 13. At that time, they will take up the thorny issue of redistricting as well as controversial bills from the just-ended session which remain in conference committees and any bills vetoed by the Governor.
The drumbeat of bad bills continues. Suffice it to say that it’s a tough year for those of us who have advocated for public policy decisions promoting social justice, protecting vulnerable people, and caring for God’s creation. We can’t respond to every bad idea or bad bill. On many of these issues, we feel like we are butting our heads against a wall. Our tendency may be to throw up our hands in despair.
Governor Bev Perdue on Saturday vetoed H 2, the misnamed “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill. (It should be called the “Freedom to be Uninsured and Unable to Get Health Care” bill.) The bill was an attack on federal health care reform and purported to remove North Carolinians from the mandated purchase of health insurance, which is the basis of federal reform which will move millions of uninsured Americans into the ranks of the insured.
The school year of 2006 began rather quietly as most school years do. But on August 30th, a boy with a gun walked into a high school in Hillsborough, NC, and the new school year was marked by violence.
Little did we know that this August 30th shooting at a North Carolina high school would be a harbinger of a national spate of school shootings. The young shooter in Hillsborough had a deadly plan and a number of guns; after killing his father he shot and wounded a student at a nearby high school.
Several times in the past decade, we have spoken out about the proliferation of guns and gun violence. In 1994, we noted why this is of concern to people of faith.
Gun violence, especially handgun violence, has increasingly become a cause for alarm in our nation and state. As Christians, we especially are disturbed. The way of Christ is a way of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, and love for enemies. The spirit of Christ is sharply opposed to the spirit of violence and the instruments of violence. It is also opposed to the law of retaliation or responding to injury with injury. Christ rejected the use of violence in the pursuit of his mission, and when one of the disciples drew his sword in defense of Jesus, the Lord said, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:51-53).
"A faith group hopes to get people talking about the importance of public schools, as some counties continue to see a rise in charter-school openings and drop in public-school enrollment." bit.ly/2ne40m7 #PublicEducation #PublicSchools
RT @FFThriving Rev. Jessica Stokes with @healthandfaith writes about the important role faith communities can play in understanding trauma and building resilience: bit.ly/34gfRA2. She will co-facilitate our breakout session on ACES at the 2020 Faithful Families Summit. Join us! pic.twitter.com/LMc3…
RT @UN Suicide is a global public health issue that affects all ages, sexes & regions of the world. On Thursday's World #MentalHealth Day, find out what you can do to help save a life: bit.ly/2MnEq6E via @WHO pic.twitter.com/UYOa…
This is just a friendly reminder to sign-up for a breakfast in response to the #OpioidCrisis. This is a great opportunity to learn about the work going on in our state and local resources you can connect with. Sign-up on our event page! bitly.is/31OH1Nt #harmreduction #NC pic.twitter.com/veEp…
How does faith connect to our relationship with God? How does our faith guide us in addressing the health issues of our communities? Join us on Oct. 25 in Eastern NC as e discuss the theological connections to our health wholeness. bit.ly/eastNC #faith #health #NC pic.twitter.com/F3Wk…
RT @julia_m_thomas At #COP25, Indigenous youth from across the globe shared statements after @GretaThunberg gave them the stage for her press conference, saying “we should listen to indigenous communities because ... they are most hit by environmental emergency.” pic.twitter.com/8Lr8…
RT @interfaithpower Are you at #2020Judaism with @RabbiAssembly @USCJ? Looking for ways your Jewish community can help to repair our climate? Stop by our table to connect with grassroots @JClimateAN & @interfaithpower groups near you! #Allarecalled pic.twitter.com/XLbW…
RT @StrikeClimate “We can’t go on like this; it is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue – we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer,” @GretaThunberg. Pic: 500k #ClimateStrike in Madrid. pic.twitter.com/gyRQ…