Sane Gun Laws Are a Pro-Life Issue

Are U.S. Catholics taking the lead in fighting the epidemic of gun violence in our country?

The editors at National Catholic Reporter have a good column on why pro-life Catholics should be at the forefront of reinstating the assault weapons ban and universal background checks. And these two legislative goals are just the highly effective, legislatively low-hanging fruit.

Here’s an excerpt from Catholics Stand For Peacemaking Wanting, Some Say:

Activists and pastors who work with street violence or teach peacemaking and nonviolence fear the answer to that question is yes. They say the best response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where on Dec. 14 Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first-graders, six teachers, his mother and himself, is a re-commitment to Gospel nonviolence and a grassroots-up movement to change our culture.

“Pro-life Christians who are a major political force in this country should be leading” a movement for saner gun control laws, says John Gehring, Catholic program director for the advocacy group Faith in Public Life.

“If the sanctity of human life in the womb galvanizes evangelical Christians and Catholics to march on Washington, create sophisticated lobbying campaigns and hold members of Congress accountable, there is no excuse for pro-life timidity on this issue,” Gehring wrote in a commentary about gun violence and the pro-life movement on his organization’s website.

“Catholic bishops, who will help mobilize many thousands of pro-life activists … for the annual March for Life in Washington, could also put more lobbying muscle behind gun control efforts,” he wrote.

If the bishops want to be outspoken on gun violence, they would seemingly have support from the pews. A sizeable majority of Catholics, 62 percent, favor stricter gun control laws, according to an August poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service. Fewer than half of white evangelical Protestants, 35 percent, and white mainline Protestants favor stricter gun control laws, the survey found.

Rev. Gary Hall: ‘I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby’

“Enough is enough,” said Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday in a sermon that was interrupted once by applause and greeted with a standing ovation at its conclusion. “As followers of Jesus, we have the moral obligation to stand for and with the victims of gun violence and to work to end it. We have tolerated school shootings, mall shootings, theater shootings, sniper shootings, workplace shootings, temple and church shootings, urban neighborhood shootings, for far too long. The massacre of these 28 people in Connecticut is, for me at least, the last straw. And I believe it is for you. Enough is enough. The Christian community—indeed the entire American faith community—can no longer tolerate this persistent and escalating gun violence directed against our people. Enough is enough.”

… “Everyone in this city seems to live in terror of the gun lobby,” he said. “But I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby. I don’t want to take away someone’s hunting rifle, but I can no longer justify a society that allows concealed handguns in schools and on the streets or that allows people other than military and police to buy assault weapons or that lets people get around existing gun laws by selling weapons to people without background checks at gun shows. As Christians, we are obligated to heal the wounded, protect the vulnerable, and stand for peace. The cross is the sign and the seal of that obligation. And we know both from faith and experience that the cross is mightier than the gun. The gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby.” … (Read Rev. Gary Hall’s complete sermon.)

TAKE ACTION TODAY: 1) Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111. Tell President Obama that by Christmas we want him to 1) reinstate the assault weapons ban and 2) to require background checks for all gun buyers, not just some.