For Immediate Release: August 4, 2019
Faith Leaders Respond to Weekend of Mass Shootings in Ohio and Texas
In the aftermath of the tragedies at Walmart in El Paso, Texas and a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio, leaders with Faith in Action, the nation’s largest faith-based grassroots organization in the country responded to the dual tragedies. Their leaders whose work focuses on immigrant justice, racial justice, and ending gun violence in urban communities shared the following statements:
“Once again, we are made to recoil in horror at these senseless and heinous acts of gun violence. We must be honest about the causes: a rising tide of violence spurred on by white supremacists – egged on by this administration and cowardly congressional leaders who refuse to join with others in denouncing hate and racial bigotry,” said Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Faith in Action. “We are seeing a pattern of an especially dangerous form of domestic terrorism that has people of color, immigrants, Muslims, members of the LGBTQ community and others in it’s crosshairs. It is beyond time for this congress to act to reign in the proliferation of guns, especially those created for the sole purpose of indiscriminate killing, he continued. “We each have a moral obligation to pressure this administration and this congress to act. But beyond that, we must not let the forces of evil divide us and frighten us into silence.”
“The devastating shooting in El Paso is the result of the hateful rhetoric of white supremacy that have surfaced into the mainstream under President Trump,” said Richard Morales, policy and program director of Faith in Action’s immigration rights campaign LA RED. “There is a direct line between the brutal murders based on the victims’ race and ethnicity and the president’s desk. With the violent and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers on the border, Trump and his administration have endorsed the hatred that is now erupting. This is terrorism, and the president not only normalizes it but even encourages it with every move he makes to dehumanize our migrant brothers and sisters.”
“The loss of life is heartbreaking. The inaction by Congress sparks righteous indignation. We weep with those who mourn. And we call the righteous to flood the Senate with phone calls and in-district visits while their members are home for August recess. We can pass universal background checks and funding for research this fall. And we must scale up federal funding for public health responses to community gun violence. People of faith must demonstrate we belong to one another. Jeremiah said to Seek the Peace of the City. Jesus said Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. This is a time for faithfulness and more importantly, action, not silence!” added Pastor Michael McBride, director of Faith in Action’s campaign to end mass incarceration and gun violence LIVE FREE.
“Black and white, rich and poor, newcomer and Hoosier born, side-by-side we’ve worked together so everyone can live free from the fear of losing a loved one to gun violence. This week, our president’s violent words led to violent action. Calling for gun reform is not enough. As people of faith, as neighbors, as human beings – our moral responsibility is not only to condemn his words, but join together – people from all walks of life – to fight for our future,” added Shoshanna Spector, executive director of Faith in Indiana, who recently met with South Bend Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate, Pete Buttgieg to discuss gun control laws in the wake of last month’s mass shootings.
“How many more deaths of innocent people will it take until Congress wakes up and takes action?” Asked Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin, Director of Clergy and Leadership Development at the Essex County Community Organization in MA, a Faith in Action and MCAN affiliate. “In Judaism, we are taught that if you are able to prevent harm and choose to do nothing, you are responsible. We are responsible. The time for courageous action is now. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Herschel said, we must act with ‘moral grandeur and spiritual audacity’ because ‘act of violence is an act of desecration.’ I hope these tragic shooting can spur our own audacity to demand the passage of sane gun control policies that protect our communities.“
Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.
Faith in Action is a 501c(3). Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.