Our outrage must evolve into the will to stop gun madness – The Dallas Morning News

Posted By on June 2, 2022

Editors note: The following is a letter submission from Faith Forward Dallas. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square is a diverse coalition of Dallas faith leaders, dedicated to service, hope and a shared vision of justice and peace for our North Texas community. Faith Forward Dallas leads our virtue initiative and serves as a moral compass for the community.

And now in Texas, again Our hearts are heavy with a profound sense of sadness and loss over the news of the senseless deaths of 19 innocent children, two teachers and the shooter at an elementary school in Uvalde.

With the pain of the loss of innocents in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 14 still fresh in our minds, we now add our thinking of and praying for the grieving families, praying for them to receive the sources of strength and courage that they will need in the coming days and weeks and even years as they seek to find some sense of shalom in the current chaos.

We share with those in Uvalde our deep gratitude for the speed, expertise and professionalism of the first responders at every level caring for those on the scene and throughout the city. We pray that the local leaders, both civic and religious, have the strength and fortitude to guide their communities through the darkness and brokenness toward the light and toward the healing they need.

In our country, at this date in 2022, we are counting over 200 separate shootings with mass casualties. Churches and synagogues and mosques and schools are targets. We once believed that this would be impossible, but sadly, the thought of that being impossible has been shattered again with another shooting at a school, more children becoming victims of gun violence.

We need to say the names: Columbine. Red Lake Senior High School in Minnesota. West Nickel Mines School in Pennsylvania. Virginia Tech. Oikos University in California. Sandy Hook. Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Santa Fe High School. There are dozens more, and now Uvalde. When does it end? How many children must die before the most sophisticated country in the world can figure out how to stop this? How many times will we get angry? How many letters will we need to write? How much more lobbying do we have to do?

Its not a matter of what to do to stop this madness; its a matter of having the will to do it. Perhaps more than ever, must we raise our voices and spirits to say this hatred and violence is not who we are, not who we wish to become, not the legacy we choose to leave for our children.

The Rev. Rachel Smith, founder of God Not Guns, wrote: As people of faith, we must stand witness to the destructive power of gun violence. We must say we will rely not on guns, but on God. We will affirm not guns, but life. We will bless not guns, but our common humanity. We must hold up a higher value, saying that our childrens lives are a sacred trust, and that human life is more important than any gun.

Most importantly, we must recognize that violent rhetoric leads to violent action, especially when we transgress the biblical injunction to not remain indifferent. We as parents and children, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters must never let that happen. It is time for action, beyond thoughts and prayers.

In solidarity.

Signed,

Rabbi Andrew Paley, chair, Temple Shalom; the Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas, co-chair, Cathedral of Hope UCC; Almas Muscatwalla, executive director, Faith Forward Dallas.

Bishop Michael McKee, Dallas Area of the United Methodist Church; the Rev. Deanna Hollas, gun violence prevention ministry coordinator, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship; the Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter; the Rev. Andrew Fiser; the Rev. Heather Mustain.

The Rev. Pavielle Jenkins, First United Methodist Church Richardson; the Rev. Amy W. Moore; Linda Abramson Evans, Interfaith Council or Congregation Beth El Binah; Chris Slaughter; Harbhajan Singh Virdee, Sikh community; the Rev. Cathy Sweeney, associate pastor, Arapaho United Methodist Church; the Rev. R. Casey Shobe, rector, Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration; the Rev. Joe Stobaugh; the Rev. Debra Loudin-McCann, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Rev. Karen Fry, co-spiritual director, Center for Spiritual Living Dallas; Dr. Petra Weldes, co-spiritual director, Center for Spiritual Living Dallas; the Rev. Larry M. James, CitySquare emeritus; the Rev. Billy Echols-Richter, Grace Avenue United Methodist Church; the Rev. Mitchell Boone, senior pastor, White Rock United Methodist Church.

The Rev. George Mason, Faith Commons; Wendy Fenn, co-founder, Faith & Grief; Pastor Preston W. Weaver, retired elder, St. Paul United Methodist Church-Dallas; the Rev. Dr. Charles L. Aaron Jr., Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; the Rev. Holly Bandel; the Rev. Alexandra Robinson; Virzola Law, senior minister, Northway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); the Rev. Nicole Bates, NorthPark Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Anne Tabor, Unity of Arlington; the Rev. Chelsea Turpen; the Rev. Kate Morgan, Church of the Elohist Thelema; the Rev. Victoria Robb Powers, University Park United Methodist Church; the Rev. Erin Wyma, associate pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ; the Rev. Phil Dieke, White Rock UMC; the Rev. Michael J. Baughman, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Betsy Lyles Swetenburg, Northridge Presbyterian Church; Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Faith Commons; Bishop Erik Gronberg, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod of the ELCA; the Rev. Dawn Anderson, associate pastor, Lovers Lane United Methodist Church; Dr. S. Benjamin Brown Sr.; the Rev. Kristine Totzke, bishops associate for leadership formation and congregational care, NT-NL Synod.

Donna Schmidt, volunteer lead, Dallas Chapter of Moms Demand Action; Rabbi Brian Zimmerman; Joyce Hall, coordinator of Pax Christi Dallas; Gary Looper and Robin Nevin; Pastor Marcus D. King, Disciple Central Community Church; Samuel Voth Schrag, pastor, Peace Mennonite Church; Huseyin Peker, executive director, Dialogue Institute Dallas; the Rev. J.I. Minor; the Rev. Dr. Lil Smith.

The Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell, Presbyterian Church (USA); the Rev. Melinda Wood Allen; Rabbi Joshua Taub; the Rev. Dr. Michael Diaz; Amy Lewis Hofland; the Rev. Phil Hodson; the Rev. Rachel Baughman, senior pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church; Minister Sammie Berry, Dallas West Church of Christ; the Rev. Jeremy Rose, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ.

Rabbi David Stern, Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen, Temple Emanu-El; the Rev. Laura Fitzgibbon, interim pastor, The Norkirk Presbyterian; Cantor Vicky Glikin, Temple Emanu-El; the Rev. Andria M. Davis, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ; Rabbi Daniel Utley, Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Debra Robbins, Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Amy Rossel, Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Shira Wallach, Congregation Shearith Israel; Michelle Kinder; Cantor Sheri Allen; Rabbi Mark Washofsky.

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Our outrage must evolve into the will to stop gun madness - The Dallas Morning News

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