Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square Response to Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton
The religious, faith and spiritual leaders of Faith Forward Dallas speak with one voice against the violence perpetrated in El Paso and Dayton just this weekend. We call on the words of a prophet of old:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One group shall not lift up sword against another,
neither shall they learn violence anymore.
These words from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah declare the word of hope for which all people of faith, peace and good-will long in this day. There will come a time when violence springing from hatred and fear among different people groups will come to an end. When the xenophobia that has haunted human cultures for millenia will be no more. That day is not today.
What the text does not tell us is how this comes about. We believe that it comes through the combined partnership of the Divine Spirit and those who are moved to act. We believe that the Power which inspires and equips us is Love, which does not fail and never ends. And so we commit ourselves to listen, learn, speak and act.
Our hearts are with the victims, their families and loved ones and all those affected by this tragic shooting. These families became members of a club that no one wants to join: the millions of Americans whose lives have been forever altered by gun violence. We grieve with the families and communities that have been torn. We vow to be present in our own communities to those touched by gun violence.
Research shows that restrictions on assault weapons can help prevent mass shooting injuries and fatalities. Over the past decade, the five deadliest mass shooting incidents in America all involved the use of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded. This is more than mass shootings; in recent weeks, gun violence has devastated Baltimore, Gilroy, Canoga Park, Newport News, Brooklyn, El Paso and Dayton. This year alone there have been 251 mass shootings in only 216 days. There have been a total of over 8760 deaths by gun violence in the USA in just this year alone. This is a public health crisis that demands urgent action.
We need our leaders to support common-sense gun laws that could prevent tragedies like this one. Instead, year after year Texas legislators continue to weaken gun laws and put our communities at risk. We call upon President Trump, our Congressional Senators and Representatives, the Supreme Court and the judicial branch to act now to cease and resist all rhetoric that would separate communities through xenophobia and hate. We call upon Governor Abbot, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, our Texas legislature, and our county and city officials to enact common sense gun reform AND actively work to heal the divisions among our neighbors.
We do not believe that people must live in fear. We do believe that individual and communal acts of love can transform our world. We do believe that the hate can be overcome and transformed.
To connect with Faith Forward Dallas and the communities we represent, please visit: www.thanksgiving.org/faithforwarddallas.