We stand together in shared pain and loss at the recent spate of gun violence in our country.

Though we come from varying faith traditions, together we share these common beliefs:

  •  We proclaim some form of the Golden Rule, imploring us to treat one another as we’d like to be treated.
  •  We believe in the sanctity of human life.
  •  We consider it unacceptable to allow a culture of violence to reign in our households, our neighborhoods and our nation.

These common understandings suggest that, while we all need to respect the rights of hunters and sport-shooters to have access to their weapons, we also need to respect the vulnerability of human life that is threatened by allowing weapons to be too easily available. People of good conscience need to take this conversation back from the extremes into real life in which real lives are at stake.

We acknowledge that access to guns is but one part of the issue, however, the consequences of our inability to have this conversation should be obvious by now. Those who believe it hasn’t happened to them or theirs should take notice — gun violence happens to all of us when it happens to our neighbors, near or distant. We are all immeasurably impoverished when one person needlessly dies. How much more loss can we bear? We are united in the belief that we have lost too much already. Please join us in imagining and creating a safer world.

Dr. Talia I. Alvi, Muslim Community, Bettendorf; Imam Saad Baig, Islamic Community, Moline; The Rev. Robert Bowlin, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Davenport; The Rev. Joyce Chamberlin, Presbyterian Church, USA, Milan; The Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul, United Church of Christ, Davenport; The Rev. Becky David, Spiritual Care, Genesis Health System, Davenport; Pastor Brian Fischer, American Baptist Church, East Moline; The Rev. Dave Geenen, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Rock Island; Rabbi Tamar Grimm, Rock Island; The Rev. Bob Hamilton, United Church of Christ, Elkhart Lake, Wis.; The Rev. Randy Heckman, United Church of Christ, Moline; The Rev. Rich Hendricks, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community, Davenport; Cantor Gail Karp, Reform Judaism, Davenport; Rabbi Henry Jay Karp, Reform Judaism, Davenport; The Rev. Janet Lepp, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rock Island; The Rev. Katherine Mulhern, United Church of Christ, Davenport; The Rev. Jean M. Norton, United Church of Christ, Davenport; The Rev. Dr. Mary N. Pugh, Presbyterian Church, USA, Blue Grass; The Rev. Ron Quay, Churches United of the Quad-Cities, Bettendorf; The Rev. Frank Samuelson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rock Island; The Rev. Dr. Pamela S. Saturnia, Presbyterian Church, USA, Davenport; The Rev. Jay Wolin, Unitarian Universalism, Davenport

(8) comments

jdmac44

I agree with the good clergymen completely in their list of common beliefs. It’s the people who want to accost me in my home, on the street, in my workplace who do not align with those beliefs. Because they choose not to live in such a manner does not mean that I am going to sacrifice myself to their evil ways, I will not be one of the dead who is unable to speak for whether or not I wished I had a gun when I was attacked. Think of all the people whose lives have been lost but cannot speak for themselves. How many would be abhorred to hear people such as this who insist that it was good for them to die empty handed? It’s rather like the saying that “there are no atheists in fox holes”, you don’t really know a persons position until they’re faced with their mortality; unfortunately too many succumb to it. I admire your beliefs, but do not insist that I embrace them, do not try to compel me by force of law to bow down to them.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Gun ownership for self defense is imperative as a basic civil right. No government, church or other entity has the moral or legal authority to force people into being helpless victims. We have plenty of gun laws. Obviously passing more won't solve anything because the ones we have are ignored by the gangs and drug dealers. I am in full agreement with the argument about the culture. Too many kids are raised to look up to gangs. We have multi generational crime families in the QC. We all know who they are, we see their names in the news all the time.You aren't going to fix that by going after people who live lawfully and simply want to be left in peace.

BHirsh
BHirsh

Hunters and sport shooters are exercising side-benefits of the right to arms, not its primary purpose.

Its primary purpose is to shoot PEOPLE - people who immediately and unavoidably threaten our lives and well being.

Get that through your heads. Your arguments are facially misguided.

jack burton
jack burton

This article reminds of my favorite Bible verse in Genesis, where Abel asks his brother, Cain, "Crikey, mate, where did you get that Glock?"

motomed

because I am a person of good conscience and believe in the sanctity of human life, I carry a gun with me every day. You have stood in line next to me at the grocery store while my pistol was secured out of sight in my holster. I have sat in your pews locked and loaded. the world did not come to an end. I don't shoot for sport and I've never hunted. I carry a gun to defend myself, my family, and others incapable of defending themselves, again, because I value human life. Pastors, of all people, should recognize that forces of good and evil exist in this world and should support the efforts of those who resist evil.

You say you want to have a conversation, so start by telling me what you propose we do in regards to guns? Often this call for a conversation is really a call for more restrictive gun laws, and not an invitation to have a conversation about the effectiveness of such laws. I've jumped through the government hoops and carry legally. More gun control prevents me from being able to do this, but does nothing to stop criminals who already buy and carry guns in violation of existing laws. Making it harder for responsible citizens to get guns does nothing to address the stated problem of a culture of violence and only serves to tip the scales in favor of criminals who have no use for laws in the first place. Please compare chicago's gun laws with their murder rates, or do a little research on the number of mass shootings that take place in "gun free zones" before you propose solutions to a problem that have been shown to not work.

The implication that the second amendment applies in some unique way only to sport shooting and hunting shows a total disregard for the origins of the amendment and recent supreme court rulings that deal with the amendment.

senor citizen

The killings have been going on for many years. The deploring and condemning of killing will not end it. The clergy who signed on gave no solutions to the situation. If it weren't guns it would be knives and ball bats. THe common beliefs of the clergy mean nothing. It's the beliefs of the people that would have to change. As long as there are 2 people on earth there will be killing.

Nope, it's your comments. You are why people buy guns!

;_)

Contemptio

It's not guns that make people violent.

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