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God and Gun Control: What role does faith play in the debate?

Does God have a place in the gun control debate? This portal has frequently highlighted resources from our affiliates that address gun issues, however as the debate escalates in response to violence and legislation, we offer the following resources from our affiliates that provide insight into how faith communities can respond to the gun violence, cope with tragedies and promote change.

African American Lectionary

  • Restoring the Peace Community Action Day (June 2)The African-American Lectionary recently added this new item to its calendar offering lectionary commentary, worship resources and cultural resources for pastors wishing to incorporate discussion of gun violence into their worship service and their discussion of the lectionary, Genesis 4-1-15. The presence of this moment on the calendar represents the Lectionary team’s clear sense that violence in African American and other communities has reached a tipping point and the Church can no longer ignore it or fail to take major steps to address it. The cultural resources section also offers tips and ideas for incorporating peace into the lives of your parishioners.


Auburn Seminary Center for the Study of Theological Education

  • Religion is Risky Business: Some New York-area rabbis were planning to bring weapons to services to guard against threats while a Kentucky pastor invited his congregation to bring their guns to church to celebrate the Second Amendment. Do weapons belong in worship? Should clergy be armed? Do the Ten Commandments trump the Second Amendment?
  • How we rebuild after an American tragedy: Auburn and its social action initiative, Groundswell, along with Groundswell director Valarie Kaur, respond to the tragic mass shooting at the Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012.
  • Resources for Faith Leaders Responding to Tragedy: A list of resources for faith leaders that includes links to insights about worship and prayer; gun violence as a spiritual and moral crisis; religious divides about guns; clergy speaking out; facts and figures; educational tools for congregations and communities; and Jewish-specific resources. Compiled in response to the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.


Faith & Leadership

  • Interrupting violence: Faith & Leadership’s profile of CeaseFire, an anti-violence initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention aimed at reducing street violence.


Forum for Theological Exploration


New Media Project at Christian Theological Seminary

  • New media and public grief: In the weeks following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, social media became a method of choice for many to share thoughts and express their grief. Social media users around the nation created memorial pages and shared pictures, discussed the tragedy and publicly shared their grief with friends, family, and strangers.

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

  • Words Matter and Guns KillThe real tragedy of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut “is that it reflects America’s careless gun laws and the careless words that surround them. The outrageous notion that ‘guns don’t kill people; people kill people’ exemplifies this carelessness.
  • Gun ControlFaith communities have an important role to play, says Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence
  • Kentucky Gun ControlHundreds of thousands of people in Washington and more than 60 other cities prepared for the Million Mom March
  • Walk the Way of the CrossAn Episcopalian Holy Week March in Washington, D.C., “to challenge the violence in our world and to call for comprehensive reform in gun legislation. 


ReligionLink, Religion Newswriters Association

  • More than 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence, including increasingly in gun massacres like Columbine, Aurora, Colorado, and Sandy Hook. Some argue that while religion can offer spiritual solace and help build communal solidarity, the religious should refrain from engaging in policy questions; others say religious leaders have a moral duty to raise political issues in an effort to avoid more bloodshed. ReligionLink, a website sponsored by the Religion Newswriters Association, a professional organization that seeks to promote and support quality news reporting, has a resource page that features the latest articles on faith-based responses to gun violence and legislation as well as official statements from faith groups, gun control advocates, gun control opponents, polls and surveys, and contact information for experts on religion and violence. 





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