Commentary: Mourning the Lives Lost at Sutherland Springs
As we learned of the massacre at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, we mourned with this body of believers, this town, and our nation.
We mourn the 26 shot dead.
We mourn the 12-14 children included in that number.
We mourn those injured Sunday in body and in soulas they gathered to worship God.
We mourn the lives needlessly sacrificed. We mourn the violation of the sanctity of houses of worship. We mourn the devaluing of human life.
This grief is not new to us. We have been in this mourning place 308 times this year. And we have mourned every time persons armed with guns have entered spaces filled with people intending to kill.
We mourn the 399 people that have been gunned down in these acts of domestic terrorism this year alone. We mourn for them and we mourn for their families.
We mourn the 1,644 people whose gunshot wounds were not fatal but whose spirits will never fully heal.
We cannot control evil.
We can control access to guns.
The failure of our nation to enact responsible gun legislation makes us complicit in the deaths we mourn. And until we act, our mourning is without meaning.
We, the officers of the United Church of Christ, call upon our national leadership to do more than mourn. We call upon you to repent and respond to the cries of the people by denouncing this unholy alliance with the NRA and enacting gun legislation that is in the best interest of this country.
And if our current leadership continues to refuse, we call upon the people to rise up and elect leadership who will.
If your congregation wants to do something, you can start by planning how you will engage in the National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence next month. Host a vigil or come to Washington, D.C. to participate in the witness in our nation’s capital.
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries
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