As bells toll, clergy push Congress on gun control
(RNS) As bells tolled across the country on Friday (Dec. 21) in memory of lives lost in Newtown, Conn., religious leaders gathered outside the Washington National Cathedral to push congregants and Congress to prevent further gun violence.
“Is the need for sensible gun control a religious issue?” asked Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “Indeed it is, for our worship of guns is a form of idolatry.”
Saperstein was among 20 faith leaders who gathered outside the Washington landmark Friday to mark the one-week anniversary of the mass killing at the Newtown elementary school. They paused as the cathedral’s funeral bell tolled 28 times in memory of the 26 children and adults from Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the gunman and gunman’s mother, who also died.
Washington Episcopal Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said prayer alone was not a sufficient response to the massacre.
“Now is also a time for us to show up in ways that will prevent such deaths in the future,” she said. “If we only pray and offer comfort now, and do not act, we are complicit in perpetuating the conditions that allow these crimes to occur.”
The National Council of Churches has declared Jan. 6 “Gun Violence Prevention Sunday,” and is providing its members with a tool kit of resources, said the Rev. Michael Livingston, former NCC president.
From mosques to Sikh temples, clergy are being encouraged to support gun control in their pulpits, send their sermons to newspapers and Congress and start interfaith community discussions to reduce bullying and address mental illness. [More]