A crisis stands before us that our nation’s leaders seem powerless to resolve. We must reject the idolatry of guns before more innocent blood spills, before we mourn another senseless tragedy.
Children slaughtered in schools; women shot in their homes by men who swore to love and protect them; and now another massacre in a house of worship. Prayers for the victims are no longer enough. The country needs to hear our voices raised in alarm demanding that decision-makers act.
All of our religions condemn killing, especially the murders we see all too often in mass shootings. Whatever your personal theology, it should be clear that our gun policies are chillingly effective in facilitating these evil acts. Anyone can obtain pistols or semi-automatic rifles without a background check. Anyone can purchase unlimited ammunition without oversight. Owning or using a gun requires no test of competency. If Satan walked the Earth, he could not design a more perfect environment for mayhem, grief and death.
What is our enemy? The fear and paranoia that grip us when we discuss responsible gun ownership. The modern fetish for military-style weapons and armor-piercing bullets. The lawless actions and violent rhetoric of anti-government militias and hate groups. Our enemies lurk like slavering beasts waiting to dismember and devour us. We can watch passively and cry “Wolf,” or we can demand better protections from future threats.
Clergy must end our public silence that helps condemn thousands to die every year from gun violence. All people of faith must unite to prevent fear from continuing to trample reason and common sense. And we must set aside our doctrinal differences so that hope and love can replace weapons of mass killing on our sacred altars. Whatever name you use for the ultimate awe and mystery of all existence, guns are inconsistent with its beauty and wonder.
As foretold by the prophet Hosea, that day will come when the bow, sword and war will be banished from the land and we will dwell in safety. Let us join to make that golden age a reality.
Rev. Jeff Liebmann
Unitarian Universalist Congregation