It seems as if every month we are making a statement regarding another attack of mass violence. Words that continue to play in our minds over and over are “how long, oh Lord, how long?” Exactly how long is long enough?
Our hearts and prayers extend to the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, horrifically impacted by the events on Sunday. No faith community should live in fear of such a violent act occurring during its Sunday worship service. Our hearts are heavy at hearing yet another instance of a lone agent exercising an act of terrorism against innocent people, including children. As we shared only last month in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, we condemn and abhor this and all acts of violence.
As eyes begin to focus on the motives for this event, conversation shifts to issues: background information misreported from the Air Force; questions of whether houses of worship should permit participants to carry firearms; and challenges associated with how dealerships sell firearms. These, too, are concerns in our own state.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (Dem) challenges our leaders to consider, “whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets… how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents?"
As we pray for the Sutherland Springs community, let us also pray for all those communities across all states, like Illinois, which have few or no laws and policies that keep dealerships accountable. Even with adequate information sharing between military, government, and civilian information systems, if local businesses are not held to high standards of checks and balances, weapons will continue to be made available for those who should not have access to them. Thoughts and prayers are important, but as an organization putting our faith into action we must also call for precise and immediate policy changes.
Therefore, pray with us and take action with us.
Enough is enough!
Rev. Robbie Craig
Interim Executive Director