The United States has witnessed far too many public shootings in recent months and years. Far too many lives have been cut short or maimed by both random and targeted acts of gun violence. The school shooting in Newtown was horrific, yet since that day several times as many young people have died by gunshot.
It is abundantly clear that Americans are ready to grapple with the complexities of gun violence. The Spirit is moving across this land to mobilize people of faith to act. I urge the United States members of this Church to call your federal legislators on Monday 4 February to express your concern and your expectation that gun violence be addressed. The outlines of the necessary policy decisions are clear and widely supported: limits on sales of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, effective background checks for all gun purchases, better access to mental health services, and attention to gun trafficking.
We believe all God's people should be able to live in peace, as Zechariah dreams, "old men and women shall again sit in the streets...And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing." The prophet reminds his hearers that even if this seems impossible, with God it is not. [Zech 8:4-6] I urge you to add your voice to those clamoring for peace. Call your legislators and sue for peace.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Action for now
The following are steps that can be taken now:
Share this message - You can forward this message hereor http://episcopal.grassroots.com/act-now/details/share-the-presiding-bishops-call-to-action
You can find sample posts for Facebook and Twitter hereor http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1845/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=12224
Make an announcement at church - The National Council of Churches has samples messages for sharing with your church, hereor http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1845/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=12224
Sign the pledge - Sign the pledge to change our culture of violencehereor http://episcopal.grassroots.com/act-now/details/break-the-cycle-of-violence
Identify your members of Congress - In case you don't already know who your members are, you can look them up here or http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ Have their names ready for Monday's call-in day.
On Monday, February 4:
Call your members of congress - Dial 1-877-897-0174 to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for your member of Congress. When you are connected, tell the staff person:
"I am a constituent and an Episcopalian, and I am calling to urge [name member of congress here] to support policies that will change the culture of violence in our country. We need legislation that limits sales of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, requires effective background checks for all gun purchases, provides for better access to mental health services, and directs attention to gun trafficking."
Repeat for your other members of Congress.
On the web:
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on gun violence