A Justice-Seeking Lent: action against gun violence

Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance;
the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way.
Exodus 20:7 (CEB)

I believe the Ten Commandments were meant as a teaching tool. A moral code to guide us into healthy, just and loving relationship with our neighbor. Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida countless legislators tweeted, posted, emailed, preached and spoke these three words…”thoughts and prayers.” We heard time and time again that now is not the time to talk about policy but, rather the time to pray and grieve. Thirty years ago when I was in seventh grade, two armed students entered the high school I would later attend and opened fire during lunch in the school cafeteria. An assistant principal, Richard Allen was killed that day. A student teacher and another assistant principal were injured. It was not the only act of violence on my campus. As a result my high school was not so affectionately nicknamed “Pistol Packing High” a play off its name Pinellas Park High School. It was joked about as if it was normal. The high school that laid my academic foundation had the remnants of death embedded within it.

Thoughts and prayers without meaningful action is nothing but taking God’s name in vain. 

We don’t have to live this way. Change is possible.

If not now, then when?

**For daily updates on gun violence statistics in the US visit the Gun Violence Archives.

Prayer:
Prince of Peace, may our thoughts and prayers be filled with action that leads to change.

Action:
Call your legislators and remind them that faith without works is dead. To reach your members of congress call 202-224-3121. To email your state and federal legislators click here.

Sample Script:

I am a constituent and justice-seeking person of faith. I am deeply concerned about gun violence, and I am asking for your support in taking action today. We need you to take action to ensure that:

  • Every person who buys a gun pass a background check. No longer should we allow for loopholes, such as the “gun show loophole,” or the “boyfriend loophole,” or other gaps. We need to require universal background checks on all gun purchases.
  • High-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines should not be available to civilians. There is no legitimate self-defense or sporting purpose for these military-style, high-capacity weapons and magazines whose only purpose is to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time. We need an effective assault weapons ban now.

As the days, months, and years go by without any action taken, horrific rates of daily gun violence continue, more mass shootings occur and the needless loss of life ensues. We need you to take action to end gun violence. Our communities are suffering. It is time for you to lead.

Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck
Interim Executive Director
Methodist Federation for Social Action

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