I am a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, group of more than 100 Episcopal bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. Following shootings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 26, Bishops United Against Gun Violence released this message:
Two years ago on Ash Wednesday, unthinkable news from Parkland, Florida, punctuated our Lenten prayers and forced us once again to repent of our nation’s sinful refusal to end the epidemic of gun violence. Yesterday, on another Ash Wednesday, that epidemic claimed six lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Again this year, our Lenten journey must begin with a cry of lamentation and repentance for the evil that enslaves our nation.
We pray for the five Molson Coors workers who were murdered yesterday by a co-worker, for their families, and for the gunman himself, who took his own life. We pray too for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee and for Bishop Steven Miller, a vocal advocate for state and federal gun safety legislation who helped found our network in the wake of another mass shooting in his state—this one in 2012 at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
We pray not as a substitute for action but in preparation for it. In April, many members of our network will again travel to Washington D.C. to meet with elected officials and urge passage of commonsense gun legislation that has been stalled by partisan discord that places the fortunes of politicians above the fates of their constituents.
During these visits, we will share with our legislators the stories of the movement against gun violence that has spread across the Episcopal Church. We will tell them about our advocacy for policies, laws and programs that will protect our children, safeguard those who suffer the pain of mental illness and despair, and dismantle the unholy trinity of poverty, gun violence and racism. We will describe the liturgies and litanies that we offer to comfort those who mourn. And we will demand that they vote in the interests of all Americans, including law-abiding gun owners, to pass lifesaving, common sense gun policies that will help bring an end to our persistent pleas.
We invite all Episcopalians to join us in this movement. Visit our website and Facebook page to learn more about how to advocate for commonsense policies that can reduce gun violence, hold gun manufacturers and the banks that finance them accountable, and witness to the God of life who offers hope even as we contemplate, yet again, the face of death.