Gun Violence Reduction Sabbath: Resources
The Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, working together without a bishop diocesan between them, sent out a packet of resources for GVP sabbath, June 4-6. In the included sample sermon: "Rob Burgess of St. Augustine’s, our litanist for this morning, is a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship through which the national Episcopal Gun Violence Prevention group is organized."
Statement on the Boulder mass shooting by EPF's Gun Violence Prevention Action Group
An American man has gone into a public place, this time a grocery store in Boulder, CO, and gunned down 10 people. This is not the first mass shooting of this young year. Nor is it the 10th. It is not even only the 100th, according to Gun Violence Archive. No one should be surprised that it has happened again.
We can say he is a lone wolf. In a hyper-individualized society of toxic masculinity and male entitlement, we raise all our boys to be lone wolves. In a society in which violence is normal and quotidian, in a society that tells us the only answer to a bad guy with a gun is further violence by a “good guy,” we cannot pretend surprise. We live in a society that believes in violence, that in fact believes violence is redemptive. We see images of the Second Coming of Christ in which Jesus appears armed and warlike! Violence is the way our society maintains the order of things, from erasing indigenous cultures and peoples, maintaining the racial hierarchy, upholding the patriarchy: violence is normal and even necessary.
A man who was sworn to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis is now on trial for murder there. Fifty years ago this week, a constitutionally-sworn officer of the US Army led his platoon on a wanton rampage in My Lai, Vietnam. Fifty-six years ago this month, state police officers sworn to protect the people of Alabama attacked peaceful marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Across our history, are all these men – and so many, many others - so wildly abnormal? If so, why are incidents of gun violence so ordinary?
We need tighter restrictions on firearms, no doubt. But there are so many firearms already available, in our neighbors’ hands, that we cannot simply rely on the passage and enforcement of new laws. Especially as many sworn law enforcement officers have said they will not uphold gun regulations.
The way forward is to create a new culture, a culture based on peace and solidarity. A transformation to create a world in which we can live on earth as it is in heaven. This is the task of the Church. That is why we must have a Christian voice in the movement against gun violence.
EPF is a part of this Christian voice, and we ask you to join with us. If you are interested in the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s initiatives on building peace in a violent world, please contact us.
Statement on Potential for Election Day Gun Violence
Offered by Gun Violence Prevention Action Group Convener, Bob Lotz
The potential for political gun violence in the next days and perhaps weeks is palpable.
The EPF Gun Violence Prevention Group is usually witnessing, praying and advocating for an end to the violence that derives from the vast quantity of firearms sloshing around in this country, and for whatever sensible limits can be placed on the availability of these things.
Not this week, however. In the run-up to the election, we call on everyone to be prepared to oppose any attempt to stop the vote count or prematurely call the results. We may need to ask our congregations, friends and colleagues to speak and act to prevent armed militia groups from blocking access to the polis. We may need to pray and seek ways to prevent armed men from using their weapons to disrupt the nation and prevent a new President from taking office.
In Michigan last week, President Trump "joked" about a President-elect Biden being shot within 3 weeks To whom was he calling?
The police murder in Philadelphia this past weekend shows that law enforcement has learned nothing and changed not at all through this summer's protests against extrajudicial killings. We saw in Kenosha that the police were friendly to the armed right-wing men who came ready to kill, but violent toward the unarmed protesters. The Oath Keepers militia brags that their membership includes sworn law enforcement officers. We cannot rely on police to ensure a peaceful transition of power. We must pray now, and be prepared to witness, advocate and act in defense of democracy.
Our friends at Waging Nonviolence have prepared a plan, Seven Tactics to Stop a Coup. We offer it for your consideration. Another organization, which includes EPF participation, is organizing rallies for Nov. 4 to Protect the Results. Find an event near you.
Help us, O God, in the middle of our struggles for justice and peace, to confront without hatred or bitterness those who are intent upon violence. May we all see the vision of Your kingdom coming near, and cast aside our divisions. We pray this in the name and spirit of Jesus, who brought and still brings this vision among us.