July 5th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Chicago clergy address city's spiraling gun violence

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/07/05/chicago.clergy.gun.violence.cnn%5D

After the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s handgun ban last week, calling it unconstitutional, the City Council quickly passed a new gun ordinance.

Four Chicago clergy discussed the city’s spriraling gun violence on this week's Faces of Faith on CNN.

Interesting to note that one of the clergymen is the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a controversial figure from the 2008 presidential campaign.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Islam • Leaders • Violence

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Mary

    salmos8318 What bible are you getting that stuff from???? God does NOT permit people to be wicked, he gave people A FREE WILL, and along with it rules (Commandments) to live by so you don't become wicked, OR "Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord"..........the wicked will get theirs.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • salmos8318

      Mary I'm not sure from your reply what it is that you're questioning or if you're objecting to something I said. The quotes are from the New World translation but I would bet that the words would be very similar (same thought) in just about any modern language translation. I think we both agree that the Bible states that the wicked will "get theirs" (in so many words that's what those scriptures I quoted say). And true, God created man as a free moral agent... that is we are free to choose whatever course we beilieve is in our best interests.

      I was just merely pointing out that whether the subject is guns, or wars, or any of the other types of unrighteousness that's going on that's causing the pain and suffering that we experience today... ALL of these issues will only be solved via God's Messianic Kingdom. So long as their are wicked people walking the earth, there will be issues. Everything that man does (regardless of what type of government) to "fix" these issues will fall short of truly fixing all these problems.

      July 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  2. susplace

    Clergy? Clergy? I wouldn't believe a clergyman now if he came with the Pope himself. But, there is a solution. Issue EVERYONE a gun, in American. Watch the crime rate go down in one big hurry.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  3. Harleyman

    Getting rid of 95% of the guns in America and the murder rate will go down. What are you smoking? I am sure the criminals and gang bangers of this country will surrender their guns. When is America going to wake up and realize that it is the plan of the leaders of this country, to disarm every American citizen so that the Government can do what they wish with the people of this country. The old saying "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". I am in favor of the right to carry concealed weapons. If a criminal wants to rob you or molest you, might just think twice if he things you have a gun on you. We the people of this country have the right to protect ourselves and I would rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

    July 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  4. salmos8318

    Man was not made to govern man... and these last 6000 yrs in which man has attempted it have only underscored this reality. The issue of people killing each other... regardless of whether it be with guns, knives, bombs, flame-throwers, candy canes, etc... is not new to mankind and has its roots in wickedness: "For this is the message which YOU have heard from [the] beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for the sake of what did he slaughter him? Because his own works were wicked, but those of his brother [were] righteous" (1 John 3:11,12)

    While God continues to temporarily permit people who insist on being "wicked" to live, this problem will exist. However, very soon He will act to rid this world of wickedness. God's Kingdom will soon rule upon the earth and Jehovah's holy name will be vindicated. Yes, that is the same kingdom (a true government) that Jesus taught this followers to pray for. Only then will this be a non-issue: "For the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it" (PROV 2:21,22)

    July 8, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Thorrsman

      D'you truly think you God has the right or ability to govern all humanity? Likely enough what you want is the very theocracy that the rabid Atheists get so hysterical over. The Gods have given us free will, which means some people will choose poorly, some wisely and most will make a hash of good, bad and stupid. To allow a theocracy, be it Christian, Muslim or of any other belief system you could name would certainly fall into the stupid column.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • salmos8318

      Absolutely and without a doubt on both as far as God having the right AND ability. Jehovah God is our Creator and the one who knows what we need better than even we ourselves know, and, just as he made humankind subject to physical laws in order to stay alive (food, air, water, etc.), he also made moral laws that, if all of humankind observed them, would make for a harmonious society. God knew that the human family could never be successful in regulating itself without his rulership. In a vain attempt to be independent of God’s rule, humans have set up different political, economic, and religious systems. These differences have brought people into constant conflict with one another, resulting in violence, war, and death. “Man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9) "I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step." (Jeremiah 10:23)

      The reason most people have a hard time accepting this is because of their having a hard time believing that God can ever remove people who will not corrupt and ruin things for those who are willing to be subject to his rulership. But God's answer to this is: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:10, 29

      No, not some fiery place of torment, just death as in the opposite of life... non-existence... is what awaits those who are not willing to become subjected to God's rule. Think about it... one just government ruling the WHOLE earth... no nationalistic boundaries, no hatred, no strife, no sickness, no death... all our needs met... that is why Jesus put God's name first followed by God's Kingdom in his model prayer. It's up to each one of us to ensure that we're counted amongst the "righteous" and "blameless".

      July 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  5. Guster

    Yea, just teach the kids we all evolved from some some "common ancestor". Give them no explaination as to why it happpened. Give them Darwins theory of survival of the fittest and then sit back and scratch your heads as to why they kill each other with guns over of pair of sneakers. If we are all here because of random chance with no divine purpose or worth then why is the violence we see so shocking? Tell kids they are just the highest evolved order of animals and then ponder why they act like animals. Thank goodness most of us beleive human beings were created by a loving God and have infinite worth and purpose. That is the only reason stories about gun violence are so disturbing. When Gods children kill each other with guns or knives or anything else it hurts us all because of our true God given value.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • David Johnson

      So, we shouldn't tell the kids the truth, because they will murder each other? We need them to believe in fairy tales to save their lives? Many of the stories in the bible are more violent than anything in Darwin's book. The violence has nothing to do with evolution or belief in god. Most the prison populations are Christian and Muslim. Very few atheists.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:34 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      So no christian has ever shot anyone? I think a strong family would do more to curtail violence than a candle light vigil. Maybe ban babby momma from having 5 welfare babies? Maybe clip baby daddy the first time he is arrested for domestic violence.

      Stupid people are breeding.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  6. big lens

    Prayer is essential in most peoples lives including mine. Banning guns is not only taking away my right to bear arms, but it will give every crook the green light to use them more because he knows that law abiding citizens would not have them. The gangsters that ran Chicago in earlier times liked molotov cocktails, baseball bats and ice picks just as much as guns. They have the same effect, right? So outlaw gas, baseball bats, and ice picks. Just to make you feel really safe you should outlaw cement in case someone wants to make you some big swim fins.

    Has anyone ever considered banning gangs? What a novel idea.

    July 8, 2010 at 3:45 am |
  7. David Johnson

    Concerning the Church Sign Photo:

    Ho, Ho! The fundies put one over on the Evolutionists once again. Well darn it, why are all the monkeys still here? Yep, you demonstrated how stupid evolution is to the kids one more time. Except, we did not evolve from monkeys. We evolved from a common ancestor. Consider the branches on a tree. The children of this country will need to compete with the rest of the world. You better give them the best education that you can.

    The fear is, if there was no creation, then there was no original sin. If there was no original sin, then there is no need of a redeemer. If the redeemer is not necessary, then what becomes of Christianity? Who will fill the collection plates? Oh, my!

    July 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Ross

    In the name of Religion and God, 19 religious followers commited suicide (using box knives) by hijacking airplanes and crashing them into buildings killing and wounding thousands. It resulted in more thousands of people being killed and wounded around the world. Murder in the name of religion and God and NOT USING GUNS is OK.

    July 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  9. Ross Klindtwort

    Chicago has had gun ban for decades and this outrageous murders continue to happen. You have students killing each other with 2 X 4s (wood) and the "Chicago clergymen speaks" talks about gun control again which is what the Chicago politicians use so they don't have to do anything worth while to stop MURDER in Chicago. The gun ban was tried in iChicago,New York, Washington DC, etc which makes American cities inliveable.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  10. Brad

    I don't care about guns except as antiques. But the statement that "guns don't kill people, people kill people", really confuses me. Not long ago I was coming home from a small town in Oklahoma. I passed a cemetary that was thronged with people, and cars lined up even out to the highway. The person being buried was a young woman who had been a student at Virginia Tech. I also knew a young father who went berzerk and killed his two small sons with a handgun. What if the shooter at Virginia had had a nuclear device? After all, "bombs don't kill people. People kill people." I lost a good friend, Diane, when the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed by Timothy McVeigh. If we are going to continue honoring our service people who gave their lives for our right, among others, to bear arms, then we also should honor those two little boys, the Virginia Tech students, Diane and the other 167 who sacrificed their lives so we can walk around with automatic weapons.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      While automatic weapons CAN be legally owned in America, the background check, licensing fees and federal tax–not to mention the basic COST of such weapons–means that VERY few Americans OWN an automatic weapon (legally). Criminals might LIKE to have an automatic weapon, but they are expensive in the illegal market too, take experience to use properly–or misuse, in the case of criminals–and are difficult to conceal. Learn the facts of the subject before spouting the typical anti-gun propaganda.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Brad

      I'm sure the families of those kids killed at Virginia Tech appreciate the fact that automatic weapons are hard to get a hold of.
      BTW. Please have the maturity not to name any disagreement with you as "spouting off".

      July 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  11. davo

    as a former police officer in the midwest, there has always been and will always be only one thing that a criminal really fears. A private citizen who is armed who will shoot them quicker than law enforcement ever would and they all know that. A police officer will respond after the crime happens and they know it...with response times being 8-10 minutes typically, terrible things always happen and the bad guy is always gone to do it over again and again to someone else. When a citizen smoked a home invader in the act, our city didn't have any more home invasion for 2-3 months. Most people know what the common denominator is here, but the politicans and do gooder's always masked it with something else. Wake up people, I'm as so sick of the stupid, simple minded people calling the shots for the rest of us to live with. Chicago will learn the truth now that the Supreme Court ruled. Now comes the delays and the high fees.

    July 7, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  12. Guster

    For all of the posters that are compelled to take shots at God and religion, I'm not sure why any of these issues suprise you. We are all just animals, evolved monkeys. The criminals are just surviving by being the stongest. Why not shoot someone you don't like or because you want something they have? Evolution and survival of the fittest is simply playing itself out the way darwin expected. Our society is simply evolving the way it is supposed to. The strongest are surviving.
    For those that believe in the Judeo/Christian values this country was founded on, continue to pray. The family is being ripped apart and moral relavitism is destoying the moral fabric that made this country what it is. We need prayer more than ever.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Grist

      You really need to read more. There is an extensive scientific literature about the evolution of morality. We do not live in isolation. We are social animals. There is survival benefit to an individual in being nice to others. They will then more likely be nice to the individual. There is also a thing called group survival. Groups of people who work together are more likely to survive and reproduce than groups who kill each other. I suggest you read "The Evolution of Morality" by Richard Joyce, , "The Altruism Equation" by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved" by Frans de Waal. The Bible is simply a book written by a primitive tribe and was meant to ensure the survival of that primitive tribe. We should not expect it to help us understand human nature. Instead, we should turn to Science.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Gristl, I'm afraid you're throwing pearls before swine. People like Guster have absolutely no interest whatsoever in learrning how evolution really works. Much of their personal sense of self-worth is bound up in their religious affiliation and their belief in its superiority to all other philosophies. You can argue against logic, but you can't argue against a person's desire to protect his sense of self-worth. Until people like this become disillusioned with the church, arguing with them is like arguing with a brick wall.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  13. Brian

    Let me re-word that statement for you McFlames

    I also love it when people say "Guns don't kill people,people kill people"...Guns provide the opportunity to (defend yourself) more efficiently, it takes no effort to shoot a gun but pulling a trigger. This is what makes them (self sufficiency) people given the opportunity are more likely to take advantage of the opportunity if provided access to it, In other words owning a gun provides the opportunity to (defend yourself) easier and by virtue of having access to it you put everyone else at risk of (self sufficiency) statistically speaking..

    I'm a Liberal, and I favor a culture of dependancy. Without the media I'd have to think for myself.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  14. Mcflames

    I love it how when your critical of religion, people yell at you as though your attacking them....This world is very crazy...

    I also love it when people say "Guns don't kill people,people kill people"...Guns provide the opportunity to kill someone more efficiently, it takes no effort to shoot a gun but pulling a trigger. This is what makes them deadly people given the opportunity are more likely to take advantage of the opportunity if provided access to it, In other words owning a gun provides the opportunity to kill someone easier and by virtue of having access to it you put everyone else at risk statistically speaking..

    Think of it as a thought experiment, if you had to choose between living in 2 houses and there were 10 people in each house who you know nothing about, house a having 10 people 0 guns and house b having 10 people and 10 guns..Which house would you rather live in??

    The same is true of society, I know absolutely nothing about the people who are at the store with me, nothing about the people who live in my neighborhood yet they could potentially have guns which by virtue of existence threaten my \ability to live in peace..

    July 7, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  15. Brian

    Well they do point to broken homes and very poor parenting are direct causes. I guess the community organizers from the Chicago area aren't worth ......... Wait I voted for one. Well if the problems are broken homes, poor parenting, violent music you can fix that with more gun control...... See how well the gun ban worked.......

    At lease it's cool to be a Democrat !

    July 7, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  16. Rancher

    Yes, gun violence is spiraling, downward every where else but Chicago and places with strict gun control. Guess what they need is a better class of people. Rude criminal thugs are not near as brazen when they know that 60 or 70 year old person can and will defend themselves. I am glad we have a lot more courteous neighbors here. Life is good if you make it so. If you let the evil, corrupt criminals control your life while you wring your hands you deserve the life you have. Take responsibility for your life or continue to support the criminals. You made your choice now live with it.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      You are confusing cause and effect. Gun control is often a RESPONSE to violence; gun control policies are typically enacted after an increase in violence, which spurs politicians to write and pass these laws.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Dave

      And Michael, you are missing his point: gun control laws only affect the people who are already obeying the laws; to wit, not the people we're having a problem with. The criminals who already use guns to break the law aren't going to suddenly stop because of any new gun control legislation.

      July 10, 2010 at 5:51 am |
    • Margot707

      Your premise is false. New York and New Jersey have strict gun control laws and make getting a carry license very difficult, yet their violent crime rate is among the lowest in the country while Alaska is among the highest. The strictest laws on the books are pointless if they are not enforced.

      July 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Reality

    Wow it is surely difficult to say something constructive on this blog. Once again saying the same thing with different words to sooth the odd commentary requirements of this blog: the clergymen need to get at the heart of the issue by addressing the fuel that fires a lot of gun use in Chicago, i.e. drugs to include alcohol.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  18. Bob

    Who the hell cares what the clergy discuss? Seriously. Why don't we listen to experts in teh field?

    July 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Well, 'cause the clergy are praying to an all knowing god. Who could be more expert than an all knowing god? Besides, if the clergy didn't pray and discuss, they would be unemployed and a burden on society.

      July 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • W W Woodward

      Clergy, for the most part, are already a burden on society. Talk to six million German and Polish Jews about the power of prayer. Oh. That's right. You can't. They're all dead and burned up.

      July 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      W W Woodward,

      Yep, god's chosen people. Some Jews have said, "God was sleeping, during the Holocaust".

      July 8, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  19. Thorrsman

    Not gun violence, just plain violence. The tool is not the problem, the people commiting violence are. So long as you focus on the tools they use and not the violent people themselves, you will solve nothing.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • Michael Wong

      That's a good point, but it's still worth noting that there aren't a lot of drive-by baseball battings. Guns do not make a person violent when he wasn't violent before, but they do make a violent man much more dangerous.

      Of course, there's always the theory that violence won't happen when the threat of violent self-defense and retaliation is present. In order to test this theory, people tend to compare different states which have different gun policies, and then look at their crime rates. To say this is a poorly controlled study would be something of an understatement; there are often uncontrolled differences in socioeconomic conditions, demographics, and culture.

      This makes the issue rather difficult to address conclusively. But I would argue that it's not so much the rate of gun ownership that matters so much as the reason for gun ownership. Gun ownership in Canada is nearly as high as it is in the US, but gun violence is less than half what it is in the US. I suspect that the biggest reason is that most gun owners in Canada own guns so they can use them against animals, whereas far too many gun owners in the US own guns so they can use them against humans. Even the ones who buy them for "self-defense" are intending to use them against humans, even if it's only as a threat.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Semper Fi

      Wong – You are wrong. Look at the before and after statistics in citiys and states that enacted conceal carry laws. Violent crime rates dropped almost over night.

      July 10, 2010 at 9:29 am |
    • Margot707

      The biggest problem is that the automatic weapons in use today are more lethal and efficient at killing. The weapons available in Revolutionary times are pop guns in comparison. Restrict the manufacture, sale and importation of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. No one needs an AK-47 to go deer or duck hunting.

      July 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  20. sallyforth

    It kills me (no pun intended) that whenever the murder rate goes up someplace, a bunch of people, usually members of organized religion, get together and decide that the only way to tackle the murder rate is to pray about it and ask the "Lord" for help and guidance. What a bunch of rubbish. Like praying is REALLY gonna help! Get real, people. Get rid of 95% of the guns in America and then you will shrink the murder rates.

    July 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Oh sister! You are wise. And not just because you agree with me. Toss out the religion with the bath. Bless you daughter!

      July 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Sutemi

      Okay, first of all, saying "get rid of 95% of the guns in America" is like saying "grow bullet-proof heads". It ain't gonna happen. I don't know how people can entertain such an unrealistic opinion. 99.99% of the guns in America *aren't killing anyone*! Any measure taken to confiscate guns on the scale you're talking about would be draconian beyond your ability to imagine. And they *still* would work only on the 99.9% of people who own their guns legally and have no inclination to use them unlawfully. When will you sheep realize that THE ONLY THING THAT CAN STOP A BAD MAN WITH A GUN IS A GOOD MAN WITH A GUN? And please don't talk to me about the police; the police get there when the crime has already been committed. Americans have largely shirked their responsibility to defend themselves, and now they wonder why they're victims. Wake up, wise up, gun up.

      July 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Veritas

      It looks like intolerance is alive and well among the athiest. You don't have to be religious, but wanting to keep others from being religious is where you cross a line.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • Emmitt Langley

      How does the murder rate in Chicago now compare to the murder rate when prayer was allowed in schools?

      Seems like there's a simple test there, but I get the feeling you're not going to like the conclusions. So, you'll just continue to be outraged. But outrage is just a smoke screen from reality. Prayer does help. A lot.

      July 7, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • typicalresponce

      whats an even better suggestion than prayer is taking away guns. Because its impossible to get a gun illegally. Just like pot. Idiot.

      July 7, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • David Johnson

      Veritas – I don't claim to be tolerant. A wise man (C. Hitchens), once said, "Religion poisons everything". He was so right. The fundies try to have the teaching of evolution banned from our schools, and replaced with what amounts to Grimm Fairy Tales. They run around waiting on a Jesus that hasn't been seen in 2000 years. There are so many ways the religious "cross the line" with their machinations. And all for things that can't be proven.

      Emmitt Langley – Prayer doesn't work. If you think it does, then please stop the oil spill in the gulf. Jesus said something about asking for anything. Even mountains could be moved. Move a mountain for me. Did you know that there has never been a limb restored? They say that at Lourdes, there are piles of wheel chairs but not one wooden leg. Why, even Richard Roberts or Benny Hinn don't restore missing limbs. People practice selective observation. They tend to remember the times when their prayer appeared to come true. They tend to forget the many times when their prayer fizzled.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ralph Gentry

      Prayer quiets the mind and may allow new soltuions to become evident. Take away 95% of the guns? When a very small % of legally owned guns are involved in crime this is not logical. If anything, more people should get weapons training in how to protect themselves. Increased gun ownership does not lead to increased crime. If anything, less.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:41 am |
    • Woody Creed

      rounding up all the guns...sounds a lot like what Hitler did prior to WW2. An armed citizen is a free citizen.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • cathrat

      Sutemi is absolutely right – confiscating guns isn't going to happen, and even if it did, violent crimes would still be committed, but the victims would be less able to defend themselves. Please do your homework – more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens drives the crime rate down. It turns out that criminals don't like getting shot, either.

      July 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • Lemons

      Mexico already did that.....

      July 11, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Emitt, schools were segregated back then as well. I could draw a real nice parallel.

      July 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Saganhill

      So how is getting rid of 95% of the guns going to help. And I will be damned if you or someone like you comes knocking on my door demanding I turn over my firearms in the name of security. To this day, I have never seen a gun get up by itself and aim itself at a human and pull its own trigger.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:17 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.