Video: A Mall of Crosses Since Newtown Massacre

This is an example of the amazing work that Sojourners interns do. I’m so awed by and proud of them.

As a staff we worked on building the crosses to represent the gun deaths in the U.S. SINCE the Newtown massacre. (Although, I kept reminding them that there was a time Christians got their crosses handed to them rather than having to make their own.)

Web intern Brandon Hook is brilliant with the video camera and put together this moving 2 minute clip.

Sign the letter to Congress, standing with Newtown clergy, to demand effective gun laws.

Guns and Greenhouse Gases: The Lord said ‘Tell the People to Get Going!’

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!”–Exodus 14:15

Sometimes you spend years preparing for change, then when it arrives you are too tired to get moving.

I’m trying not to let this happen to me.

For inexplicable reasons, the horrific shootings at Newtown and Superstorm Sandy have shifted something in the American soul. After all these years of advocating for action, there is finally forward movement on climate change and sane gun regulations. Though I for one am weary and tired, I want to encourage you (and myself) to do what we can to meet this moment.

1. On greenhouse gases and climate change–If you’ve never spoken out about climate change, do it now. Write to your Congressional representatives and ecclesial leaders asking them for strong, clear leadership to reverse of global warming and mitigate its associated social disruptions. President Obama raised it in his inaugural address. There seems to be movement in Washington to address it–finally. While in most cases the best solutions to a problem are those closest to the ground, this is not the case with climate change and climate disruption. It will only be adequately addressed with federal leadership. So we’ve got to push. Tell Barack Obama that you support him to lead in the fight against climate change, beginning with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

2. On sane gun laws–After the shootings at Sandy Hook, Americans rose up to demand two things: universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. President Obama’s 23 planned executive actions on weaponry is moving us forward on universal background checks.

The second piece, a ban on assault weapons, has now been introduced to Congress by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. I’ve read the whole bill. It’s excellent legislation. It deals directly with many of the loopholes in the previous assault weapons ban that sundowned in 2004. Now it is our job to build support for it. Write to your Congressional representatives (here’s the link to the Brady Campaign support letter) and ecclesial leaders asking them for strong, clear, unequivocal support for Sen. Feinstein’s “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”

As we move toward Ash Wednesday and Lent, I hope that part of our commitment can be to take meaningful action in these two areas at least … remembering when the Lord said to Moses “Stop whining to me! Tell the people to get moving!”

Learn More:

Watch the video of the climate change portion of President Obama’s inaugural address.

Learn more about the movement to address global warming with the Forward on Climate campaign.

President Obama Signs 23 Planned Executive Actions on Guns

Summary of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013

Congressional text of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013

The Brady Campaign Support Letter for Sen. Feinstein’s Legislation

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.