By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – With the bells of the Washington National Cathedral ringing 28 times – honoring all those killed in last week’s Connecticut shooting – a broad group of religious leaders on Friday called on their congregations, the White House and Congress to do more to combat gun violence.
“We gather as religious leaders both to commemorate the one-week marker of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and to call our people and the nation to action,” said the Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral. “As clergy, we in our traditions know something about suffering, and we know something about our shared faith that love is finally stronger than anything, including hate and including death.”
The group assembled outside the cathedral, comprising religious leaders from almost all the major faith traditions in the United States, said it is fighting for three specific goals: the outlawing of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, tightening controls on the sale of all guns and improving access to mental health care.
The event featured leaders from evangelical and mainline Protestant traditions, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.
On top of asking clergy to discuss gun control, the group said it would ask congregants to participate in a national call-in day to Congress on February 5.
Most of the 20 speakers echoed one another on the cold, blustery day in Washington, saying that although it is important to pray and comfort the victims, now is the time to act.
“We must now, even in our grief, call the nation to an immediate and a healthy response that moves us, all of us, beyond our epic failure to respond to the culture of violence in our country and in our world,” said the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.
After previous mass shootings, like the Columbine school shooting that killed 15 in 1999 and the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead in 2007, leaders from many of the same religious traditions spoke in favor of tightening gun legislation. Those statements and actions, however, failed to move public sentiment, and many of their efforts stalled.
But the religious leaders said they sense a difference after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“It gets back to that instinctive way in which we are reviled by the notion that we would be a society that massacres its own tiny children,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly.
“People across the country in all of our congregations are responding to the rabbis, and they are responding from a sense of personal grief,” she said. “It is as if every one of these families lost every one of these children and adults in the school as their own.”
Hall told CNN that because so many religious leaders help run schools, they strongly identify with the tragedy of young victims.
“There is something about this shooting and the fact that it was 6- and 7-year-olds. There is something about this shooting that just feels like a critical mass has been reached,” Hall said. “I think it probably makes us identify with this shooting more powerfully than with others.”
On Sunday, in churches across the country, sermons focused on gun control.
“Everyone in this city seems to be in terror of the gun lobby. But I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby,” Hall said during his sermon, a line that elicited a standing ovation from the crowd.
This type of sermon, along with action from political leaders, leads Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the primary organizer of Friday’s event, to believe that the religious community could play a big role in this discussion.
The religious community is capable of “mobilizing people to be a political force that we have done on issues of conscience since the beginning of this country,” he said.
When asked about the biblical basis for gun control, Saperstein quoted Leviticus 19:16: “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened.”
“Is the need for sensible gun control a religious issue?” he asked rhetorically. “Indeed, it is, for our worship of guns is a form of idolatry, the random distribution of guns is offense against God, and the only appropriate response is sustained moral outrage.”
In all of this prating from "religious leaders," I do not see one instance of an appeal to scripture. There is not one passage that supports citizen disarmament at the hands of the state, either directly or indirectly. There are plenty, however, that speak of armed citizens as a good thing.
What they are doing is calling for the theft of private property at the hands of the state, using state-sponsored violence.
These people talk about "idolatry" and "gun-worship". I counter that they are guilty of false witness against gun owning citizens, blaming an inanimate object for human sin, and idolatry, that is, state worship.
Using the pulpit to call for the forcible disarmament of private citizens. Disgusting.
Gun control only works for those that want an unarmed America. I wonder why that is? People are much easier to control when they don't have firearms. That is pretty much why the 2nd amendment exists...
There are enough gun laws. It is ridiculous to implement more when the bad guys don't follow them anyways. Most liberals have 0 understanding of guns. If they went to a target range with an "assault rifle" they would want one too...
Reducing the availability of guns makes their willingness to break the law irrelevant. Most criminals would be willing to shoot someone with a rpg or SAW. The reason they don't is because those guns are not available or affordable.
Liberals have no understanding of guns? Gosh, what a dumb comment
And besides..you'll shoot your eye out.
AntiFirearms.com Premium Domain Now FOR SALE. Take advantage of this HIGHLY MARKETABLE catchy and self explanatory name to start your own political campaign and website.
For purchasing information, follow this link:
I was raised around guns. I really have no problem with guns. The problem I have is that Americans, for the most part, lack the maturity to be responsible gun owners. Guns are treated as toys and problem solvers. Too often guns are considered the first resort, not the last, and too often guns are not treated with the respect a potentially deadly weapon requires. And frankly, no one outside of the military or police needs a vanity gun like the one used in Connecticut. Until our culture grows up, access to guns should be regulated.
i'm a competitive shooter. To me it's an expensive, highly technical hobby. i'd be happy to see all the chuckle-heads regulated – meaning all shooters except me, of course.
"Guns don't kill people, people do."
This is an incomplete and frankly loony thought..
People kill people with any weapon or "tool" they can find. Guns just do a really good job with the deed.
To continue to allow a loophole in weapons registration and licencing (national gun registry is need) is foolishness. Owners and guns should be tracked, a database to include the purchase of ammunition for those weapons. strict laws in place to judge the worthiness of gun owners, etc.
I could go on but this information is already provided by a well throughout organization.
Check out the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Funny that the Brady Bill had 0 impact on handgun violence....
everything in the brady bill and everything you are suggesting are already in place in the State of Connecticut. Strict gun control laws did not prevent the school shooting tragedy. can't you see that?
instead of confiscating guns out of 100 million US homes, why not do something to control the nutcase violent mentally ill people who have done all of the massacres from Littleton, Colorado, to this day?
Hmm, let's look at the options:
Plan A: confiscate 250 million guns out of 100 million homes
Plan B: identify the 100 violently mentally ill people in the country with the propensity to committ mass murder, and get them the treatment, help, counseling, drugs, or jail cells that they need so they are controlled. Also force the people in their families to lock up their guns in very solid gunsafes (and don't give the nutcases the combination!).
Even a liberal with their brains fogged out by a philosophy of go dless humanism can see which is the best choice.
@jknbt: the arguement is over the legality of owning a weapon that can pump out 60 rounds a minute.
the rifle this guy used in that school is the same model i was issued for iraq.
no american requires a rifle that the united states armed forces use during war-fare, it's just not logical.
the brady bill only works as far as the purchase of legal firearms, when you can go to a gun show and by whatever you like from whom ever you like then the waiting period is useless.
now let's look at the CONVICTED FELONE that gunned down those firefighters:
one he had firearms even though he was sent to prison for beating his grandmother to death with a hammer 30 some years ago.
where is your brady bill for that guy?
@jkbt: let's look at your two options now.
option A: WORKS. it would take time and compensation encouragement to have gun owners turn over there military grade firearms, but it could be done.
option B: FAILS.
1) united states would have to legalize search and seizure of families homes to verify their fireamrs are being stored properly.......................... good luck on that one.
2) cost of attempting to identify next nutcase to go on a shooting spree is next to impossible as alomost anything can cause a "normal" human to go off the deep end................................ enraged ex-lover strike you as "able to identify ahead of time"
3) are you willing to allow your taxes to be increased to pay for the constant monitoring of these mentallly ill patients?
@wasp- if you try to confiscate the guns from 100 million gun owners, you will have a revolution....it will take more than the time, encouragement, and money you propose. get real.
also, laws are already on the books to allow search and seizure of firearms of the potentially violent owner. all I am suggesting is that the families of the violent mentally ill acutally lock their guns up for a change in a gunsafe.
Merry Mythmas everyone!
We're gonna take your guns, princess. And if you get beat to death in the process, all the better.
The gun control lobby wants all guns confiscated. That is the situation in Mexico today. Regular law abiding people cannot own guns with rare exception. Well, guess what? Only the criminals own guns. The regular good people of Mexico cannot defend themselves against the violence of the drug gangs and criminals who prey on them. Do you liberals really want that in America? The drug lords have not spread their violence and terror north of the border because they know that the Americanos have guns and will not stand for it.
The NRA spokesman is talking sense about having armed guards in the schools. There was an incident in Houston last week. A high school boy was being threatened repeatedly by a gang of thugs loitering on the street he uses to walk home from school. So he packed a loaded handgun into his school bag and brought it with him to school. He let it slip to someone that he had a gun. Eventually someone called the Houston police with a tip. They notified the school authorities, and the Houston police officer on duty that day in the school promptly arrested and disarmed the young man. He is facing felony charges for his mistake. The bottom line is that what could have been a massacre turned into an arrest with no violence. What the NRA guy suggested works. Think about it.
Mentally ill young men who had a known propensity for violence did all the school shootings going back to the Littleton, Colorado tragedy. All of these massacres could have been avoided it there were state and federal laws in place to screen out the mentally ill young men out there that were literally walking on the edge of a serious breakdown. There should be programs in place to identify these type men and get them the help they need. I am not talking about incarceration.
These men need medication, counseling, outpatient care, and supervision. Their families need to be a full part of this. That would include removing guns from the homes of these mentally ill people. That would have avoided all of these incidents. Why doesn't anybody want to focus on the real source of the problem? Guns did not kill those kids. Mentally ill young men did. Why can't anybody see this? That is where the focus of societal remedies should be, not in confiscation of the guns of law-abiding citizens.
All of the guns used in the shooting at the elementary school were legally owned and registered. The State of Connecticut has the strictest gun control laws in the country, and they did not prevent this tragedy. So get real Liberal Leaders!
Merry Christmas, by the way!
Your answer is more guns?
There is no reason for rapid fire weapons in civilian hands.
There simply isn't.
Semi-automatic rifles that fire heavier rounds than those used by those evil assault weapon look-alikes are used in hunting all across the United States. Akira, if you ever got out of your parents basement and went outside and hunted you would already know this.
Is your aim so bloody bad that you have to shoot 100 rounds at Bambi?
There is simply no reason for any rapid fire weapons to be in civilian hands, Ignorant's sh!tty aim notwithstanding.
@Akira, ROFL, 100 rounds??? You obviously are not a hunter...
Akira, you don't want to give up your own rights. Someone fought hard for you to have that right to own a weapon. No one says you have to use that weapon, but do you really want to give away your right to decide to someone else? Why let someone else make the choice you should make for yourself.
Assault rifles excel at mid range for keeping the king of England out of your face.
No, obviously not.
My point is, using the same gun on Bambi as were shot at the children at Sandy Hook, and as many rounds.
I suppose so...I guess I just don't buy the notion that they are for hunting, unless the hunting is for humans.
How much more lethal does a weapon have to be before the bloodlust is satisfied?
What useful purpose do they serve civilians, except to kill as many as possible in the minimum amount of time?
The guns were registered to his mother who was in denial about the state of his mental health
A game-show host? Really? LOL. Idiot. (and ignorant, of course)
Chuck Woolery? Really?
Yupper, good words though. And if you ever read the actual statements by the NRA, instead of just clips from them as posted on most liberal news sites, you will find that they are dead on, and the only logical answer to stopping madmen with guns.
Is Chuck Woolery an ex-convict like you are, Ignorant?
I thought ex-felons couldn't get a license...I thought a person couldn't buy guns if they were ex-felons...
Sorry to get your liberal panties in a bunch, but the 2nd amendment is my right to have an "assault weapon". If you don't like that molon labe.
Yeah, I know you don't know the meaning of that word... You really wouldn't.... Look it up...
If the second amendment gives you the right to own assault weapons, then why stop there?
Shouldn't we then be allowed to own surface to air missles?
Or an M1 tank?
How about your own thermonuclear device?
Where do you draw the line?
I am going to make an assumption that you believe in god Ignorance. Being a gun nut and being religious seem to run hand in hand.
So, being religious and believing in this loving god, and following jesus' teachings, then let me ask you this question;
If jesus came back and was alive today, would he own a gun, or promote gun owneship?
I will bet tht your name is on a watch list somewhere...good.
I hope they can stop you in time before the next Sandy Hook.
Then they'll come and take them.
Molon Labe baby....
They couldn't pay me enough to touch you, PhilipBurningMan1/2ofChick-a-dee.
Get a clue, indeed.
One gun distributor sold 37 Million guns in the week since Obama started his political agenda of banning guns! 37 Million!!! Thank you Obama for getting MORE guns on the street!
He never talked about banning guns.
He talked about banning assault weapons.
That you don't know the difference shows you handle fits you very well.
Assault Rifles have been banned since 1934. You need a federal Class 3 firearms license to have an assault rifle in the US. Or are you talking about the semi-automatic rifles that look like Assault Rifles? Like the name implies, ignorance is bliss...
Banning guns?!?! I take it you're watching Fox news.
I wish he would post under his real name, 'Rush Limbaugh'.
No, actually I am just sick of ignorant people on the left that know absolutely nothing about firearms trying to make laws that affect those that do. Get a clue...
Really, PhilipBurningMan1/2ofChick-a-dee, (and I know this is you posting from a hotel in CS, CO), why do assume that I'm on the left because I wish rapid fire guns to be prohibited?
I don't want the second amendment repealed; I want the guns that make it easy to mow down many people at once banned, even if it may cut into your enjoyment of eviscerating said children and Bambi a bit.
So it seems you do want the 2nd amendment appealed. The 2nd amendment protects americans from a tyrannical government. Helps keep them honest. It has nothing to do with civilians just having hunting rifles or pistols. We are to have the same arms available to us as the military has.
No, Johnny B, I plainly stated that I do not want the 2nd Amendment repealed.
I do not think, however, that civilians will ever possess the weaponry that the military has, and they should never be made available to the general public, as the potential for devastation would be much worse than what we have already seen.
As for keeping them honest, well, that's altogether a whole 'nother topic.
i can guarantee you that if the united states military decided or was ordered to impose martial law on the american population all you "2nd amendment nutts" wouldn't last two heart beats against this country's military might.
you may have firearms similar to military grade assult rifles, just the main difference is training.
You gun purchasing leader's name was Lanza. The throes of passion to gather up more weapons doesn't come from the opposition it comes from what/ and who's causing the opposition to have to take place. Your thought process is a bit frightening
Dear Rev. Gary Hall, how well is the gun ban in DC faring? DC crime has dropped like a rock because of the ban hasn't it? There is no gun related violence in DC now? Get a clue, gun bans only work against law abiding citizens. The gunman stole the guns and used them in a "Gun Free" zone. Our leaders are really showing their ignorance, or is it political blindness?
Again, there is nothing to be gained by citizens arming themselves with assault weapons, unless you condone the mowing down of innocent people in the most efficient manner possible.
He is not talking about repealing the 2nd amendment...if I give you a dollar, will you buy yourself that clue?
Oh all knowing Akira, please explain to me the effectiveness of the last "Assault Rifle" ban? You know the one against those semi-automatic "assault rifle" wanna-bees?
Oh, pompous, condescending, self-righteous prig Ignorant,
why is it so important that you keep your very efficient killing weapon?
There's simply no need to have a gun of any sort that fires that many bulllets in a civilian setting.
Personally I prefer shotguns. A 3" magnum double 00 buck round has 15 .33 caliber pellets in it. Each pellet is BIGGER than the round used in the AR... And every time I pull the trigger I fire 15 rounds instead of one... But go ahead and ban those semi-automatic black rifles, ROFL!
Ignorance is truly bliss...
Your name most definitely is known to the police, and I hope that your 'handler' knows just how dangerous you are, Philip.
Someone should tell them both.
The abuse of young kids wasn't enough to get anything done; hopefully the deaths of the 20 kids now will make the religious leaders to look deeper into their godly consciences
The abuse of young kids will continue to go on as long as the Churches involved are allowed to "take care of their problems" internally, without outside law enforcement being involved.
Until that happens, their godly conscience will continue to get in the way of justice.
I am amazed that the liberals are working sooo hard to ban guns because of these children's deaths. But I guess abortion is okay with them????
One has nothing to do with the other, Ignorance.
Unless you condone child abuse and assault weapons...then I guess all is okay in your little world.
Yes, of course, children dying have nothing to do with each other....
Personally, I am against abortion, but it is patently obvious that Ignorant couldn't care less about children once they are born, as long as his right to kill them using the weapon of his choice remains unchallenged.
That's a right, also.
There is no such thing as 'gun control'- hate to say it. Unless every nation and every level of society agree and carry out destruction of ALL guns, they will not, cannot be controlled. After all, we really are talking about 'people control'. Control of anything inanimatre fails be it drugs, technology and weapons of any sort becasue the common denominator is people controlling themselves and others. So, unless anyone can point to any law that is 100% able to control people, I doubt we will ever control those things people use.
It's time to just castrate the NRA, basically. The good news out of this is that the NRA old buddies network of fat old men will decay and decline, and the gun industry probably will also contract a lot.
NRA membership jumped by 8,000 in a few days after Obama started talking gun bans. And these are many young professionals. LOL, sorry, the NRA is just getting stronger...
Ignorant, what is it about assault weapons being banned that gets your panties in such a wad about?
President Obama wants to ban ASSAULT WEAPONS, not ban all guns.
Actually the NRA is not quite as powerful as many thought # wise. That's why they lobby so desperately for any policy that allows them to sell more guns. Selling guns, not membership is their support system. Right now theyre lobbying to sell guns for an arm the teachers program$
I have the best idea to all of this.
What we can do, it put guns in boxes on the walls in every building, like they do with fire extinguishers.
Then, when the bad guys come, anyone can break the glass and get the gun and save the day!
And we can solve the hijacking of airplanes by just arming the passengers!
If everyone had a gun, just think how much safer we would all be.........
It's even easier than that!
Migraines kill more people than mass killings done by assault weapons.
We obviously need to ban brains.
Maximum highway speeds in the USA average between 65 – 75 mph. There are some areas where these limits go up to 85 but that is an isolated instance. A recent add that I have seen on TV shows a Cadillac ATS driving through a mountain road in China at top speeds. Advertisements praise the quickness of a Corvette going from zero to sixty in 4.2 seconds. I recent read an advertisement that stated, “Shelby unveiling 950-horsepower, street-legal Mustang”. In a video I watched on the Internet, (http://www.corvette-web-central.com/Corvettetopspeed.html), taken on the public highway this driver topped 204 mph in his Corvette ZR1 I know, some would say that it is playing to the thrill of speed, the technical development of the modern automobile, or even the inadequacies of some who feel that they have been dealt a less than adequate package in the pants. Regardless, it all plays to a dangerous use of the auto on the public roads which results in death or injury. I can’t say this without also mentioning the dangers produced by irresponsible people using cell phones while driving or those how are compelled to “text” while driving. There are also those who in their better judgment decide to drive while intoxicated.
If we want to restrict the amount of bullets one is allowed to put into a magazine for a firearm should we also be looking at restrictions being placed upon the auto industry considering the facts I stated in the previous paragraph. Should we also impose stiffer regulations on the toy, film, video, and gaming industries that produce graphic illustrations of violent behavior that illustrates this violence as being OK, as long as it is perpetrated by the “good guy”. Check out this web site, http://www.hobbytron.com/SpringM16A7AssaultRifleAirsoftGunFullStockYIKA.html
Yes, this is a toy.
David, bottom line is, there is no need for civilians owning assault weapons.
This vast list of "other useless items" doesn't negate that.
Funny how none of these pro-gun folks can come up with a single good reason, isn't it?
There isn't one. What kind of neighborhood do you live in, David? Is it some urban war zone? How many of your neighbors have been robbed at gunpoint? Any? I doubt it.
You don't "need" an automatic weapon. You just want one.
"can't come up."
What if a few of those teachers had their concealed permits and went to a range a few times a year, do you think that dumb kid would have gotten one of those children? I really think people should exhibit a little common sence here...
Better yet Greg, what if the kids had guns.
They are people too, and need to be able toprotect themselves.
Just common sense, right?
Last August a group of highly trained NYPD officers took down an armed gunman outside a building in New York City. 9 innocent bystanders were injured. All by NYPD bullets.
How many more kids and adults would have been killed if these teachers had been armed?
The assault rifle that this gunman used shoots about 100 (more?) bullets per MINUTE. The carnage was accomplished in about 2 minutes there. Those armed teachers would not have stood a chance...
Yeah, because the people who dream of becoming kindergarten teachers are the same people who want to spend their spare time at a firing range while making less than a McDonald's manager. Way to sell the job to quality candidates.
The Bushmaster XM15 E2S rifle system consists of a rifle, a magazine, and a sling. It is a lightweight carbine ... Maximum effective rate of fire: 45 rounds per min. / semi-auto loading in .223 caliber.
If you can not control drugs,How can you control guns,I can make one myself.Just a quistion?think you peaple have high hopes!
You can't even put coherent sentences together, or use a spell checker.
Fiscal, is that you?
I think the only high thing here, Cliff, is you.
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.