Dear People of God in the Episcopal Church,
Last week, those of us in the United States watched in horror as a violent insurrection put both our government and its leaders in peril. This week, our nation sits on edge, waiting to learn if extremists will make good on threats to mount armed protests at all 50 state capitol buildings and in Washington D.C. between now and Inauguration Day.
The epidemic of gun violence in our country now threatens not just individual Americans, but also our democracy.
The new administration and many members of the 117th Congress have pledged, as we have done, to support sensible gun reform, and we look forward to working with elected leaders of both political parties to bring about meaningful change in our nation’s gun laws. But changing laws will not be enough.
In these fraught times, we ask Episcopalians of all political persuasions to join us in doing three things:
Pray for those who died in last week’s siege at the U.S. Capitol and all those who endured it and will live forever with traumatic memories. Pray, too, for all those who may be threatened with mob violence in the coming days, and for the law enforcement officials who are seeking to protect our democracy.
Ask your elected officials to hold accountable those who use the threat of gun violence as a means to overturn our democracy or subvert the results of an election. Ask them, too, to ban guns from state government buildings, polling places, and all locations where people participate in civic life.
Work with leaders in your community to end our country’s longstanding racial disparities in policing, made plain by the contrast in enforcement tactics used in this summer’s protests for racial justice and those used at last week’s violent insurrection.
May God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, grant us courage for the days ahead.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence