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. Frank Laws

    Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans all run by far left democrats for decades. These cities are bankrupt fiscally and morally. Somehow this is the fault of Christians? So lets punish the self reliant and self controlled members of society by taking away their ability to defend themselves. Explain how this will stop the government raised thugs of these cities from killing each other?

    July 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  2. George

    If banning guns were the answer then Chicago would be one of the safest cities in which to live. We all know that the opposite is true. When I was a kid most all of us believed that killing another person would earn us eternal damnation in hell, a fate worse than death itself. A lot of people thought that way, and there was much less violent crime. Maybe these religious folks are not all wrong. The farther we get away from the teaching of the ten commandments the more trouble we get into. The anti religious, anti self defense leaders have governed our cities for 40 years, and in that time violent murder has risen astronomically.I do not think it makes much sense in this environment to deny law abiding citizens the right to defend themselves. I have to think that if these Liberals were right there would be safe, cleaner, and prosperous cities, in stead of the mess that we have. Without respect for human life, and the rule of law we are doomed to live in a violent world, one in which innocent folks must be armed to protect themselves and their property. Denying self defense to inner city dwellers may be the most base and blatant form of racism in America today.

    July 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  3. Jonathan

    How about we adopt the libertarian approach. Let everybody believe whatever they want to believe, earn what they're able to earn in the free market and keep all of their earnings except whatever's needed to cover the cost of basic services?

    If your belief system is any good, it will be self-funding. Most Christian communities I know tend to have lower levels of unwed motherhood and resultant criminality than atheist/agnostic communities. Christians also murder millions fewer people (via the Inquisition, conquest of the New World, etc) than do atheist/agnostics (which include Stalin, Mao and Hitler).

    July 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  4. drillspillkill

    A couple of points here. 1. The bible is not the word of God written by God in real time as if it were a newspaper as most Christians today believe. The bible was compiled by various men beginning 70 years and as late as 500 years after Jesus lived. The reason why nothing was written down earlier is because his followers at that time thought he was actually coming back. After a generation or so when it was clearly evident that Jesus was not coming back, the first writings began to surface. 2. You can only know God through man–That in itself ought to tell you religion and God are a frauds. 3. On May 20th of this year life was created in a lab from chemicals. It's called synthetic biology–Google it. 4. Very few if any people actually do believe in God as evident by even the most devout. When it come s down to life or death–meaning when they are sick or injured or their children are sick or injured. At that moment of truth, God doesn't even come into play , nor does any other aspect of bronze aged folklore. What almost always happens is evolution rights itself (self-preservation) and the sick or injured believe alright–They believe in the miracle of science to make them better. Spin it anyway you want to get through the day. I'm taking my chances with this life–oh, and without guns. It seems as if guns don't kill people, gun owners do.

    July 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Larry

      @drillspillkill You say that life was created in a lab on may, 20 this year.
      "Yesterday, researchers led by J. Craig Venter reported that they had built a genome from scratch and used it to control a cell. May 21, 2010"
      ( Q: Does the advance really represent the creation of new life? )
      ( M.B.: There are a couple of reasons why this achievement should not be called the creation of “new” life. First, the form of life that was created was not new. What was essentially done was the re-creation of an existing bacterial form of life, except that it was given a prosthetic genome (synthesized in the laboratory), and except that the genome was put into the cytoplasm of a slightly different species. ) If man had actually created LIFE it would have got alot more press time than this.
      –That you mis-understand what happened in this lab might tell you that your understanding of religion, God and what a fraud is or isnt might be flawed. You also say most people really don't believe in God, there again thats the opposite of reality. Most people do believe. the fact they dont always act like it just means their human. Thats where Jesus come in. I'm taking my chances with God in this life, with guns. It seems responsible gun owners don't kill people, only criminals do.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  5. Guest

    Is this the same Clergy that gives a pray for the IL National Guard units as they leave for the killing fields of the world?

    July 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  6. One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

    Could the clergy focus on the source of the violence? Having guns available doesn't cause violence–so banning them or not will not have an effect.

    If there is violence in Chicago because orugs–work to reduce the demand for drugs by working with their potential (and actual) customers. If there is violence due to gangs–work with the police gang reduction task force, work with at risk youth to help them stay away from (or get out of) that lifestyle. If there is violence due to private anguish (lost of jobs, divorce, death)–work to make yourselves the go-to guys to help in those situations, help those to make connections that will diffuse their frustrations in a healthy way.

    These are not easy solutions. They all involve engaging those who might be criminals and treating them as human beings instead. That takes a deep love and caring which the clurgy should be uniquly-capable to deal with if they are connected to an infinitely loving God. But it takes time and effort and a whole lot of guts.

    Which is why the knee-jerk reaction here is to argue over guns or evolution or the existence of God. None of which will help the people of Chicago. ALL of the people of Chicago.

    July 11, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  7. sandalista

    Interesting, considering that the RCC is the majority owner of Beretta guns in Italy.

    July 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  8. Deb

    The Bible teaches God is love, so why aren't the clergy teaching that and putting that into motion? Because they're too busy tiickling the ears of those who want things their way. Instead of teaching them to have a wholesome fear and not a morbid fear of God; more people wouldn't be as violent. Stop and think about how many times the clergy have helped foster wars and back politics. Jesus, God's son didn't teach that. He taught neutrality and obedience to his Father and our Father Jehovah who created us. Nowhere is there anything about Evolution being taught in the Bible. So, question is, are most of you who are posting on this issue raised in this online article going to be continued to be led by man's traditions? BTW, King James wasn't a selected author of the Bible, Jehovah God is. Please look at Isaiah 43:8 and Psalms 83:18 in your older King James versions of the Bible and you will find Jehovah's name in it. A name the clergy continue to hide and bury from all of you. Because they fear man more than God, the one they're supposed to be showing you how to worship. But are they??

    July 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  9. Margot707

    I will never live in, or even visit, a state which allows open carry. I can't fathom the need or mind set that compels someone to carry a weapon to the super market or even into church. Get rid of the guns and you get rid of most of the problem.

    July 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  10. Micheal Wong

    Mr. Wong, you seem to be very knowledgable when it comes to the bible, key word "seem". The Christian bibles all say the same thing. In fact, the bible was never, is not, and never will be a marketing tool for Christianity. It is the word of God, in fact, knowing the bible so "well" as you do, you know that in this good book God said, "This is the book of life, this is the word of God, written by chosen authors. Follow this word of God and you shall have eternal life. The bible is and always will be the manual for life. In this book are the answers to any questions that can be raised by anyone. And you cannot deny this.......................................it's been on the best sellers list for thousands and thousands of years.

    July 10, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Curious

      Wasn't it King James that selected the "chosen authors?"

      July 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  11. dsallen

    50 years ago, guns were much easier to attain than today. Yet, things like school shootings don't even make the front page anymore because it has become such a part of our culture. What is so different these days?

    July 10, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  12. Gary S.

    Since there hasn't been time for citizens to actually buy guns since the supreme court ruled. Its pretty obvious that the reason its spiraling is only the criminals have guns. They have no fear of unarmed law abiding citizens. Why else has violent crime dropped in every state that has passed a right to carry permit? Its simple criminals don't want to encounter armed victims.

    July 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  13. Tennesteve

    I'm surprised at how people who readily believe in pyramids, space aliens, crystal power, and 9/11 conspiracy theories find God too hard to swallow. Is it because then they might actually have to change how they act?

    July 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  14. Craig Shearer

    I am surprised that these pastors have time to get together for this interview. Aren't they too busy embezzling funds from their church to pay for Male Escorts? Guns don't kill people, gaping wounds in vital organs do.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  15. sgt. rock

    Unfortunately, who listens to the clergy anymore? Their actions have pretty well marginalized them as a group.

    July 9, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  16. Guster


    Sort of like your theories on the bible.

    You don't seem to offer any rebuttal. Darwin spoke about a common ancestor but he never mentioned how this first common ancestor came to be. What are your theories on how life began? Darwins only conjecture was that the first cell could have formed as a result of random chemical reactions "in some small warm little pond". Evolutionary biochemists who undertook to close this hole in Darwinism met with frustration. All observations and experiments showed that it was, in a word, impossible for a living cell to arise within inanimate matter by random chemical reactions. An English atheist (Nobel Prize-winner) Fred Hoyle said the scenario "is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein."

    All you have to do is follow the evidence from science itself.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:41 am |
  17. Arianna Torres

    i think that gun control should always be imposed at all times to reduce violence..*.

    July 9, 2010 at 2:40 am |
  18. Guster

    David Johnson,

    You keep saying "fairy tales" in reference to a belief in a higher power. You can no more prove that God doesn't exist than I can prove to you that God does exist. The difference is science is beginning to understand the latter to be true.
    Science itself will soon prove in the folly of darwinism and a universe of pure chance. The past two decades of research have overturned nearly all the important assumptions and predictions of an earlier generation of modern secular and atheist thinkers relating to the issue of God. Modern thinkers assumed that science would reveal the universe to be ever more random and mechanical; instead it has discovered unexpected new layers of intricate order that bespeak an almost unimaginably vast master design. In fields such as Cosmology, Physics, Astronomy, Psychology and Quantum physics science is discovering the fingerprints of a master designer. Scientists studying cells, the molecules that compose the cells, their remarkable organization within the body and the delicate order and plan in the organs are faced with proof of the fact that evolutionists strongly wish to reject: The world of living things is permeated by designs too complex to be found in any technological equipment. Intricate examples of design, including our eyes that are too superior to be compared to any camera, the wings of birds that have inspired flight technology, the complexly integrated system of the cells of living things and the remarkable information stored in DNA, have vitiated the theory of evolution which regards living things as the product of blind chance.

    It is just a matter of "time". Peace.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Michael Wong

      I love the way you write such long and detailed discussions of science without mentioning even a single specific scientific principle. Nothing but vague poetic language and century-old long-discredited creationist arguments like "complexity=design".

      July 9, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • Michael Wong

      Let me guess: your scientific education is "self-taught".

      July 9, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • Semper Fi

      Wong – Just like your posts. All emotion, no fact.

      July 10, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • David Johnson

      Yep Guster, any minute science is gonna prove that 'ol talking snake did exist and the flood was just local, and Jesus did rise from the grave.

      I think you are a victim of "wishful thinking".

      Since you are declaring the Christian god is real, the burden of proof is on you. You can't prove a negative. I have a family of invisible fairies in my garden. Prove I don't. See?

      All you have is your faith. No proof. How do you know there is a god? Because the bible says so. How do you know the bible is accurate? Because god wrote or inspired it.

      Read you bible. Take off those biblical glasses, as Ken Ham would say. The bible is a book of fiction.

      You believe in Christianity, largely because you live in a Christian dominated country. If you lived in Iran, you would be a Muslim. What religion you belong to, is mostly due to your parents and where you live.

      July 11, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  19. Lance

    The purpose of private gun ownership is defense against two kinds of criminals: felonious and elected.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  20. Mary

    Geeeeeezzzzzzzz Does anyone understand the bible????????

    July 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • David Johnson


      I understand the bible, but then my parents read a lot of fairy tales to me, when I was little. So I am 1 up on most.

      July 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • David Johnson


      I'm sorry for my previous answer.

      Consider the thousands of different Christian denominations. Each denomination can show you scripture, that proves their denomination is the one god loves best. Each denomination believes only they truly understand the bible.

      If the bible is the word of god, why didn't he compose it so that after reading it, everyone comes away with the same understanding? Anyway, God Bless!

      July 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Most Bible followers don't understand the Bible. What they don't understand is that it was actually designed as a marketing guide for Christianity, not a user manual.

      That sounds facetious, but it's really not. The Bible is a marketing guide. It contains several different gospels, each of which is aimed at a different target audience, or market. If you read the gospels, you will see it clear as day. For example, the Book of Matthew is aimed at ancient Jews; it echoes the militarism of Jewish lore, the despair and fear of abandonment in Jewish culture (right down to "Why have you forsaken me" at the end), and even tells disciples to minister to Jews before gentiles. The Book of Mark, on the other hand, tries to convert non-believers so it emphasizes the virtues of charity and sacrifice. The Book of Luke emphasizes Jesus' perfection and half-man half-divine origin, thus appealing to Greeks who have a long tradition of half-man half-god creatures in their mythologies. The Book of John is focused on church insiders, and refutes various "heresies" common at the time while attempting to build unity and confidence in the faith.

      And then look at the Pauline Epistles, which are LITERALLY a collection of letters in which Paul gives advice and guidance to other church insiders! Also keep in mind that when people started asking to read the Bible for themselves, the church resisted. I am NOT joking when I say that it was created as a marketing guide. If you want to understand it, then you must first understand that fact.

      July 9, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Michael Wong

      I read your comment with great pleasure, 3 times. I enjoyed it very much. Maybe a book? I would buy it!

      July 11, 2010 at 10:01 am |
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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.