Last Saturday, I gave a speech at the St. Paul Area Synod Assembly in support of a resolution titled RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE. The resolution was a collaboration between the Joint Peace with Justice Committee and Pilgrim Lutheran Church Vestry. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, 218-41 or 84%. The timeliness of the resolution and the Spirit of God touched people's consciences.
The RESOLVES focused on: 1) contacting elected state and national leadership as well as the general population about the passage; 2) that the laws to be considered are a "dream list" of strong actions: banning assault weapons and high volume ammunition clips, mandatory gun safety training, closing the gun show loophole, creating a national database to track movement and sale of firearms, expanding mental health checks, increasing penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving arms to minors, separate criminal offenses for gun trafficking, hiring more agents, and elimination of armor piercing bullets.
I am here because of Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Red Lake, Aurora, Columbine, Oak Creek, and more. I am here because the USA leads the world in mass shootings. I am here because the USA leads ALL Western Developed Nations combined in homicides and suicides by gun.
When Jesus confronted by violence of the sword in Gethsemane, Jesus said, "No more of this!" When presented with two swords the disciples thought would please Jesus' test for what to take with them on their mission as disciples, Jesus said in rebuke, "Enough!" In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
It is time for us to respond as Jesus spoke, and say "Enough" of this human carnage, "No more of this" massacre of innocents, and "Blessed are the peacemakers" for the sake of all!
It is time to move beyond fear towards safety for each other. The government will not knock on our doors and demand our weapons. The Supreme Court has decided that certain laws to regulate guns are Constitutional. Gun owners can still exercise their Constitutional rights to keep their hunting rifles, sporting rifles, handguns for sport and protection. This resolution supports universal background checks to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill, felons, abusers, those too young. It seeks to lessen illegal and lethal trafficking of high volume gun sales. It seeks to allow military type weapons to remain in the hands of the military for the protection of our nation. It seeks to lessen suicides by gun. Most suicides are impulsive acts, and the availability of guns feeds the speed of fatality with no turning back.
Those who want guns can have guns. The rest of us want the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" without fear of gun violence.
As the song asks, "How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?" It is time for us to say "Enough!" It is time for us to say as the People of God, "No more of this!"
I urge we support this resolution.