The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness (OPW) in Washington, DC, is saddened by the deaths of thirteen people (including the gunman) at the Washington Navy Yard on yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers on behalf of the families suffering loss today are heartfelt.
The scriptures remind us, that If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:8) We pray for each and our nation with the belief that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ promised that we would not have to face this moment alone.
The United States of America is in need of common sense gun laws. We are once again reminded that our nation is sadly entrapped by a culture of violence. We are still faced with gun deaths on the evening news every day. Each day, eight children per day are killed by guns in the United States. Our streets, schools, movie theaters, political rallies, workplaces, and houses of worship are no longer safe places. But it does not have to be this way.
Our office remains committed to prophetic advocacy regarding the implementation of common sense gun laws that will 1) ban the sale of assault weapons 2) eliminate straw purchases of guns 3) make gun trafficking a federal crime and 4) require universal background checks for all gun purchases.
As witnessed yesterday, we are vulnerable in every facet of our lives. Even an armed and secure military workplace, where military and civilian workers together seek to protect the citizens of this country, is vulnerable to guns when they are in the wrong hands.
Together, we can make a difference and save thousands of lives. Call on the President and Members of Congress today. Tell them to move forward with meaningful legislation that will significantly reduce the plague of gun violence in this nation.
I urge you to take this issue seriously in your local communities. Gun violence can be reduced if we possess the will to hold our elected officials accountable to the common good.
In the faith we share,
J. Herbert Nelson II
The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II is the Director for Public Witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), serving the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.