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December 16th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

National Cathedral dean: Let's 'mobilize the faith community for gun control'

By Stacey Samuel

Washington (CNN) – On the first Sunday after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the Rev. Gary Hall of the Washington National Cathedral called on religious communities to take a stance against gun violence.

"The Christian community, indeed, the entire American faith community, can no longer tolerate this persisting and escalating gun violence against our people. Enough is enough," said Hall, who is the dean of the cathedral.

After 20 schoolchildren and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, the national debate over gun control has resumed with a fervor.

On Friday, President Barack Obama said "we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

From the pulpit, Hall delivered the liturgy with a strong message to his faithful to call for action by their legislators to institute stricter laws banning access to semi-automatic rifles, such as the one police said the gunman used in Friday's massacre.

"The best way in my thinking to mourn the Sandy Hook shooting is to mobilize the faith community for gun control," said Hall, to which the congregation clapped wildly.

Not since the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the assault weapons ban in the early 1990s, which was allowed to lapse, have significant reforms been passed. Measures to implement background checks on those purchasing guns have been widely criticized for loopholes that have allowed many gun dealers to avoid administering them.

Hall said political leaders have been "in terror of the gun lobby," but now they need to know that faith communities such as his are willing to stand behind efforts to push for gun control.

"I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby" said Hall.

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Crime • Faith

soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. buy GSI 114mm telescope

    Undeniably believe that that you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be at the web the easiest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as people consider issues that they just do not recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as neatly as outlined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

    December 29, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  2. Political will on gun control and sledge hammer fist on gun runners

    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”=FALSE!

    A man in China attacked and 'INJURED' 20 children using a 'KNIFE'.

    A man in conneticticut attacked and 'SLAUGHTERED' 20 children and 6 women and a man (himself) using (3) 'GUNS'.

    I wish people are not too blind to see the 'HUGE' difference.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Yea. What a bunch of morons. We need to immediaitely ban:

      Cars: they certainly kill people
      Matches: Sure. They have killed people
      Anti-freeze: check.
      Drain cleaner: check
      Fertilizer: double-check

      Morons!

      December 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • deez

      Guy cites China - A real beacon of humanitarian causes. Perhaps if they had an armed citizenry they wouldnt have been run down in Tiananmen Sqaure so easily by their on government.

      December 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  3. Chips

    Yes lets. Let's disempower everyone...especially the religious. They aren't smart enough to catch on.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      And, of course, your highly intelligent, scientific study to support your blabbering is____________________???

      December 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  4. jeffsocrates

    Lisa, in response to your post, it is unwise to put alcohol in front of those who have those tendencies, especially to addictive levels. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be wise. There is, however, sin in this world which is inseparable, that is, until we leave this world; and/or, Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth, as it is in Heaven. Nevertheless, we have grace and peace in Christ, even now in this world that is subject to sin and is passing. If people knew this peace, which surpasses all understanding (because it requires faith in God that, though we can know from the Bible, we cannot know how he IS, for only he knows that), there would be less violence. Violence is that which happens removed from God and God bless all those who were killed by violence from a son who, God forgive him, arguably did not know what he did.

    We cannot remove sin from this world but we can be moved by the love God gave us, in his only begotten Son, to share this love , which is eternal, forgiving, and powerful, so powerful that it cannot be removed by, even, the taking of life – for no sooner do you take the life of such young ones away that, in the next moment, they are with Christ.

    We grieve for their separation from us – as I would, being a grandfather of two and father of two, I would be so grieved were my sons or grandchildren removed in such violence. God forbid. But God help us in these times. It is this conscience that I speak to when I recommend we turn our hearts to our children and hope and pray their hearts turn to us.

    And I agree with you that we must be wise. But wisdom without the power of the Lord working in our lives is only as strong as the physical limitations place on ourselves, which is insufficient. We are only human, fallible, and once our children grow up we cannot be there 24 hours a day constraining their every action.

    God allows us free will and we grow up. He has given us greater grace though than our free will can do damage, even as damaging as Hitler or Stalin or others have been, in humanity's worst exhibitions of horror, for no matter how bad it gets, the best is yet to come, eternal, sinless, tearless, fearless love and relationship with God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and all those who, likewise, believe this to be so.

    This peace can keep the most violent of us in check, even as I was once placed in check when, during 9/11, I wanted to do nothing less than track Osama bin Laden down, cut his head off and put it on a pole and parade it all over Afghanistan, or wherever I could catch him. God forgive me for having had those thoughts; but I cannot deny I once had them.

    I had to come back to the cross and listen to Jesus, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." As a soldier in the Army I must uphold my duty to defend life, for it is precious, gifted to us by God, and no one has the right to take it. But I forgive my enemies for they know not what they do, and I would kill them if they were trying to kill me, or you, but there would be no malice in my heart, only thoughts of preserving your life, mine, or any other threatened by those who choose to violently take that which God intended to live.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  5. UncleBenny

    "And is Blu-Ray really all that much better than a regular dvd? " Only if you have a TV with 1080p.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Which I do. 3d also, although 3d is crap.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  6. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Starting with the premise that the second amendment isn't likely to be repealed anytime soon, opinions of people who think the second amendment needs revision or repeal are moot. Pragmatically speaking, the only opinions that really matter here are the pro-gun people – they hold the cards in this discussion.

    What do they think can be done and should be done about gun violence?

    December 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  7. The Truth

    I find it funny how many supposed "people of faith" are gun nuts. You would think if they had any "faith" in an all powerful diety who knows them and cares about them and protects them they would not need all those assault weapons "just in case"...

    December 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    "I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby" said Hall.
    .
    Yes we should fear the zombie believers.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • derp

      Hall is too stupid to realize that the church lobby and the gun lobby are the same people.

      "God, guts & guns"

      Murca!!!

      December 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Not necessarily.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Badda Bing

      Watching the gun lobby and the cross lobby go at it would be like watching the Nazis and the Bolsheviks going at it in WWII – you really hope they wipe each other out, but you just know you are not going to be that lucky.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I feel the same way about liberals and conservatives.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Chips

      Not all the time derp. You take away guns you disempower the public it's that simple. If you are part of the public you will want to keep as many of your rights as you possibly can.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      So sad it is that your ilk are the true zombies/sheep. Blindly following satan......

      December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  9. Honey Badger Dont Care

    While we're at it lets take care of something else.

    27 people EVERY DAY die from drinking and driving related accidents. 18 childeren die EVERY MONTH from the same.

    Lets outlaw drinking and driving too.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Since drinjking and driving is illegal no one dies anymore from this.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Oh, my bad. I forgot that's how it works.

      So during prohibition, when alcohol was illegal to possess no one in the country was drinking right?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  10. Ann

    I'm okay with guns. I'm in law enforcement, and I enjoy target shooting. I have several guns in my house.

    I still don't see why anyone needs a semiautomatic assault-type rifle in their home.

    I wouldn't choose that type of gun for personal defense. It's unwieldy. (Unless you're in the military and are used to handling it all the time, which most of us are not.) Not only that, but you sure wouldn't want to use it if you have close neighbors. It's so powerful that if you miss the bad guy, you'll be sending bullets through the walls and putting your neighbors at risk. Possibly a LOT of bullets, if you have one of those 30-round clips in it.

    Don't get me wrong; they're fun to shoot, but I think they're just too dangerous to keep in the house.

    As for other weapons, I think we just need to be more careful about handing them out. Spare me the "cold, dead fingers" quote. If you want a gun, you get a background check. Period. I don't care where you are. The "gun show loophole" is incredibly irresponsible, and needs to be closed immediately. Go to your gun show, make your purchase. It'll be shipped to you as soon as we get your background check returned. Simple.

    Put it this way – do we have "drug show" exceptions? Can you go to a pharmacy convention and buy Oxycontin without a prescription, just because it's too inconvenient to hold to the regular rules there? Of course not. You can't even buy an antibiotic without the proper paperwork.

    Should buying a gun be easier than buying penicillin?

    December 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      At close range, assault rifles are the best way to keep the king of England out of your face.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bravo Rat Lib concise and elegant

      December 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The probility of the king of England, or any other power, invading the USA is about the same as any god existing – virtually zero – and the number and type of guns in the hands of civilians is not a factor.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • I wonder

      Rational Libertarian
      "At close range, assault rifles are the best way to keep the king of England out of your face"

      Hand grenades and RPGs would work too... and you could kill 'em way up the street, before you yourself were in gunshot range. Are those legal for the general public?

      December 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  11. JamesK

    I hope that people remember how heroically the teachers acted in this the next time their unions ask for better compensation.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Don't hold your breath.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  12. Robert

    Hmmm, the gun lobby vs the church lobby. I don't subscribe to either but that's a fight I'd like to see.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Roger that

      The church that Fox News fans attend are in no way for gun control, so this will be a church vs. church battle. Lovely.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • JamesK

      Sadly, I've seen how the Fox church people treat compassionate Christian moderates on an ordinary day, so it won't be too much of a fight. The Fox church people will bully the others and say that they're not "real" Christians just like they always do, and nothing will come from this.

      As an atheist I would love nothing more than for moderates to stand up to these bullies, but my experience has been that they leave that up to us because they're just too nice to criticize, and they can't stand being told that they're not following Jesus by other believers.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  13. Baxter Redner

    Reality- The guns used in Conn. were purchased legally.
    The security system at the school failed
    Schools need to spend less on sports and each school needs a full-time ARMED guard on location.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • JamesK

      Are you sure that one armed guard have been able to stop this guy? Are you sure that this guard wouldn't be used to restrain you kid when they happen to get disruptive?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • TC

      Wouldn't it make more sense to ban assault rifles, and start to begin to wean our children away from our rediculous gun culture? It could end in one generation, with enough effort.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  14. TAX ALL RELIGIOUS BUSINESSES

    ....AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM ARE BUSINESSES MAKING LOTS OF PROFIT

    SO LET"S CUT THE CRAP.

    MOST OF THEM ARE NOT "NON-PROFIT"

    AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT BAR TAXING THEM FOR THEIR FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES.

    IF WE CAN'T STOP THEIR FRAUD, THEN LET'S TAX THEM TO PAY FOR THE DAMAGE THEY ARE DOING TO THE WORLD.

    December 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Dippy

      Is your caps lock stuck?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • TAX ALL RELIGIOUS BUSINESSES

      No, thanks for asking.
      I was just providing visual contrast for my post and not really yelling, okay?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Aardvark

      ALL-CAPS IS YELLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

      Bold adds contrast to what you are saying, as if it's extra important. Which it usually isn't.

      Italics can make your words liek mysterious, or maybe just a bit light in the loafers

      "ʎppnqɹǝdns lɐuosɹǝd ʎɯ sı snsǝɾ" ǝʞıl 'sʇɥƃnoɥʇ ʎzɐɹɔ ɹoɟ ʇɐǝɹƃ sı pǝʇɹǝʌuı

      Вы можете быть очень неясными на русском языке, если Вы хотите

      December 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Aardvark

      By the way, I was very disappointed that Santa choose reindeer to pull his sleigh, and not us aardvarks.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Jim

      Their business is in bringing in more members who each contribute fees (ti thes) to the business in exchange for various services including religious counselling and regular faith entertainment every Sunday morning. How is this any different than a gym selling memberships, and they pay their taxes, don't they? Gyms may also do some charity work, but no church is 100% a charity.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Kirk

      Nothing like being harassed by grammar monkeys, is there?
      I agree with you that we should tax all religious businesses and would add that it should be done to the highest percentage of their profits as possible.
      But since they are fraudulent businesses, I would rather see them all seized to pay for their damages to society and the criminals imprisoned. We don't need religion to act humane. We need religion to be eradicated so that we can all act rational as well as humane towards each other.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  15. jeffsocrates

    What we need to do is return the hearts of the fathers to the hearts of the children as Malachai said in the last book of the Old Testament, lest, as he said, we'd be stricken with a curse. We need self control, as one nation under God; not gun control.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Lisa

      People have poor impulse control and you don't see a problem with having guns around them that make killing as easy as pulling a trigger as quickly as possible? Would you tell alcoholics to still keep booze in their houses? Would you tell them that it's OK for them to have 100 proof booze around?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |
      • jeffsocrates

        In case you didn't see my reply here it is:

        The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding
        The peace of Christ surpasses all understanding. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, begotten by the Father, the only being not begotten.
        God the Father so loved us that he gave his only begotten son as a sacrifice for our sins. We live in a world temporarily under sin due to it being subject to Satan, the fallen angel Lucifer who rebelled against the Father and caused Adam and Eve to sin; whereby, we all have been born into a fallen world and fall short of the glory of God because of it. By the very nature of this world of sin we miss, daily, the perfect peace to be had when in relationship with the Father. We who believe in Jesus’ sacrifice are forgiven our sins and can pray to our Heavenly Father, who is in Heaven, whose name is hallowed, whose Kingdom has come, and whose will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. He gives us this day, our daily bread and forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. He leads us not, into temptation, but delivers us from evil; for the Kingdom and the power and the glory are His, now and forever.
        What is best for us is that we are in relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus’ special relationship with the Father made it possible for him to overcome this world and the sin that is in it because of Satan. God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (who was sent by the Father to lead us into righteousness) want us to have the peace of Christ – nothing can separate us from the love of God and, though this world is passing, they and their love for us never will.

        December 18, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  16. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a gun clinger

    December 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Hi

      Is that like a religious idiot? We get all kinds here.

      Welcome to the internet.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  17. MarkEntry

    So, take the guns away from the 99% of Americans who are law abiding & need to be able to protect themselves from criminals. This has proven to be a disaster for the people of London, England. Now, the criminals are the only ones with guns, and they know it. The criminas are on a rampage & Londoners are begging to be able to protect themselves with firearms of their own. Look at what works, and what doesn't. If you're a criminal, you'll be sure to demand guns be taken away. Because, being a criminal, you'll be sure to keep, & use your gun to take & do whatever you want. How long did it take for a Police officer to respond to your life & death situation? Right! Too long. Wake up. Someone always knows when a person is about to do something. They're guilty of negligence for not stopping this kind of thing. No gun law will ever stop this. But, gun laws can make it far worse for innocent people. The principal should have had an assualt weapon, like they do in Israel. You don't see their schools get hit much anymore.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Lisa

      The latest stats ranked the USA number one in the world with murders caused by firearms, 9369 vs 14 for the UK. The UK has an overall pop of some 63 million to our 311 million. I don't know what your grasp of math is, but how do you figure that they've got it worse than we do?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • TC

      Dear, most of the people who have used guns to likk others were law-abiding right up until the first trigger was pulled.

      Was this mentally ill young man a criminal? Was his mother?

      And yet, 20 children are mangled and dead.

      How many Americans must die for you to have the right to keep a gun, particulary the semi-automatic variety? 10? 20? 39,000?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Whats the rate of knife deaths in UK? Same intentions...just different tools

      December 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • UK native

      "The criminas are on a rampage & Londoners are begging to be able to protect themselves with firearms of their own"

      I live in London and feel safe pretty much everywhere I go. We have far lower crime rates than just about any major US city, and I have never heard of anyone ask to be allowed to own a gun to fight off crime that does not even exist.

      Who told you this nonsense?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  18. Rational Libertarian

    Everybody I'm arguing with, I'm leaving now to watch my Blu Ray copy of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, so happy Christmas, or Happy Holidays if you're really that up your own ass about the word Christmas.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      To the Newtown 20 and 7

      Our God knows of all our pains,
      Our God loves yet He refrains.
      My God is your God too,
      Your God is my God ever so true.
      Their God is our God one and the same,
      God cares for all creatures even the lame.

      The God of Creations did make all things known,
      All the animals and us and even all plants ever are so grown.
      Creations evolve and thru distances traversed,
      Life in its abundances can never be reversed.
      Love God and to all life be gentle and kind,
      For you see life of the living God can never rewind.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Dennis Surtees

      Would you actually say that to the faces of the greiving parents? That's really insensitive and shallow and clueless and glib.

      If someone said that to me after I lost a child like that, I would have to do everything in my power to keep from beating you to a pulp as I showed you the door.

      December 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Wait! Don't go! I needed to tell you again how wrong you are in your ridiculous Libertarian nonsense!
      And is Blu-Ray really all that much better than a regular dvd? Rational minds want to know.

      December 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Lionly

      You god is twisted and sick. His will was done.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Chips

      Happy Holidays R/L.

      And Christianity is a form of mental illness (FACT)...only if you are a Freudian. Erickson and Jung both disagreed. (Of course Jung went crazy later)..but I don't think Maslow was onboard either with Freud's claim.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.