Gun Control, Religion, and Politicians
So in the wake of Newtown, tsunami waves of debate around gun control have already flooded our national conversations.
Clearly, that event changed us as a nation, and changed the tenor and the immediacy of the conversation about gun control.
My recent blog about the terrible shooting received more hits than any blog I’ve written, clocking up hits by the minute and conversations on far-flung Facebook pages.
In it, I made a passing reference to a few denominations and their official statements in support of gun control.
Wow, did that surprise people.
In fact, many people were surprised that denominations have positions on any given public, social, or political matter.
In light of that, it dawned on me that a review of various official religious “policy” statements could make for an interesting set of OMG blogs.
And so I’m plunging in to do just that.
I think it’s helpful for people, both in and out of faiths, and in and out of politics, to learn that many religious faiths advocate for certain social and political agendas based precisely on their religious commitments.
They don’t all land in the same place, however, although it is interesting to see where the clear gravitational pull is: it’s often not where many will expect.
Aware of these statements, it then makes for interesting conversation about whether people think that these statements do and/or should make any difference at all.
Should religious groups advocate for political issues? Can religious groups speak comprehensively for the whole body? Is it irresponsible not to speak out, if an issue clashes with fundamental religious beliefs? For Christians, Jesus’ actions were nothing if not social–what effect does that or should that have on the politics of today? What if some members of the faith disagree with the group’s statements? How should members be influenced by the official views of their religious organization?
And then one more twist:
I think it’s relevant to list the religious affiliations, in so far as they are available, of members of the next US Congress.
And so I’m curious about when and why and whether politicians draw upon their religion.
There are fundamental theological differences between, say, Roman Catholics and Congregationalists and Baptists. If people of faith listen carefully to those differences, they can’t help but be nudged/pushed toward certain political tendencies.
Or can they?
Each religious affiliation has been self-offered by the politician, which suggests that there is some commitment to the theology of each group. I gathered the information from Project Vote Smart, a respected volunteer group which helped me considerably; from this list from the Pew Forum and CQ Roll Call; and, when I had a hunch that more specific information than just “Christian” or “Protestant” might be available, I gleaned further specifics from various publicly available interviews online.
It makes for an interesting study to see how well political biases line up with purported religious ones.
Since gun control is, for terrible reasons, again on the forefront of our minds, we will start with it.
I’ll list religious grouping headings (where there are different “flavors” with the same heading, like with Jews and Lutherans, I will have sub-headings under each grouping), then a quick description of each tradition’s stance on gun control (if found). I’ll then offer a few links to their statements and brief excerpts of the relevant texts.
Keep in mind, I have only listed the official stances as I’ve found them. Within each community, you can be sure that there are a variety of active organizations and voices which disagree with official denominational stances.
I would be so glad for reader responses here.
There’s much to discuss, and I’m eager to see where the comments will take us.
If there are any further links, clarifications, additions, or corrections, I will happily update the blog with them. It was a big project and so I fear and yet am sure that there will be a few blips.
So, here goes, in alphabetical order:
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL: For Gun Control:
“We have heard the retort of the gun lobby that guns don’t kill people, but guns are in the hands of people. Gun laws have become so lax that it is easier to get a gun than it is to get a driver’s license. Often individuals can get as many guns as they want with very lax if any background checks. ‘The African Methodist Episcopal Church does not question the right to bear arms, but we also believe that there must be some checks and balances to ensure that guns are not in the hands of persons who are a danger to themselves and others’, adds Bishop John Richard Bryant, Senior Bishop.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church calls upon the candidates of both parties to lay before the nation their position as it relates to passing again the Assault Weapons Ban, and other gun control measures, and we call upon the Congress and state governors and legislatures to act in a bipartisan manner on gun control. ‘We also call upon other church communions, civic groups and national organizations to join with Faiths United Against Gun Violence in speaking out and acting on this issue,’ concludes the Social Action Director, Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker.”
House Members: Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), James E. Clyburn (D-SC), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY)
ANGLICAN CATHOLICS: No official statement
House Member: F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI)
Baptists are extremely congregational, and so finding a unified official statement is not easy. That said, in 2002, Richard Land, the director of the SBC’s “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission” asserted that US citizens have the right to arms.
On December 19, 2012 he reiterated this conviction in an NPR interview, days after Newtown.
House Members: Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Mike D. Rogers (R-Baptist), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Steve Womack (R-AR), Karen Bass (D-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Steve Southerland II (R-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), John Barrow (D-GA), Sanford D. Bishop Jr (D-GA), Paul Broun (R-GA), Doug Collins (R-FL), Tom Graves (R-GA), John Lewis (D-GA), Austin Scott (R-GA), David Scott (D-GA), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Martin Stutzman (R-IN), Harold Rogers (R-KY), Rodney Alexander (R-LA), John Fleming (R-LA),Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Sam Graves (R-MO),Steven Horsford (D-NV), Donald M. Payne Jr (D-NJ), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), George E.B. Holding (R-NC), David E. Price (D-NC), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Frank D. Lucas (R-OK), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Bill Flores (R-TX), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Al Green (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (R-TX), Randy Neugebauer (R_TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Randy Weber (R-TX), J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Reid Ribble (R-WI).
Senate Members: John Boozman (R-AR), Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blount (R-MS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Ted Cruz (R-TX)
BUDDHISTS: Forgive me, but, maybe.
While they certainly encourage peace and non-violence, they also would say that guns don’t kill, but people do. No official statement.
House Members: Hank Johnson (D-GA), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)
Senate Member: Mazie K Hirono (D-HI)
CHRISTIAN REFORMED: No official statement
House Member: Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE: No official statement
House Member: Lamar Smith (R-TX), Robert W. Goodlatte (R-VA),
CHURCH OF CHRIST: No official statement
House Member: Janice Hahn (D-CA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Ted Poe (R-TX)
Senate Member: John Cornyn (R-TX)
CONGREGATIONALISTS/UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: For Gun Control
“Resolved: To pursue legislation in the United States’ Congress, State Legislatures, and the United Nations that will help diminish the acceptance of violence in any form and restrict the availability of instruments of violence using every means possible to advise our leaders and the leaders of the world that the violence must stop.”
House Member: Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Bill Enyart (D-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI)
Senate Member: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Max Baucus (D-MT),
My email to the headquarters, asking whether there is a denomination-wide policy, has not yet been answered. However, at least one diocese, the New York Diocese, has written a statement for gun control.
“Taking note of the number of ‘gun-inflicted killings’ and the ‘impossibility of relying on local gun control laws’ given the flow of handguns across state lines, Convention in 1975 called upon Congress ‘to enact legislation to control the manufacture, importation, sale, interstate and intrastate shipment, ownership, possession, registration, and use of all guns, parts and ammunition.’ In 1996 Convention affirmed and supported ‘the continued ban on sales and importation of assault weapons, parts, and ammunition.’”
On Dec. 22, 2012, Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, did issue a statement supporting stricter US gun laws.
House Members: Jo Bonner (R-AL), Don Young (R-AK), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), John Mica (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Garland “Andy” Barr IV (R-KY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Greg Walden (R-OR), Tom Rice (R-SC), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Robert C. Scott (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Suzan DelBene (D-WI), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), David B. McKinley (R-WV)
Senate Members: John McCain (R-AZ), Saxby Cambliss (R-GA), Angus King (I-ME), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
HINDUS: No centralized body.
This article captures the tension: http://vajrin.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/a-hindu-view-on-gun-rights/
House Member: Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
REFORMED JEWS: For Gun Control:
In 1972, they reaffirmed a statement from 1968 which urgently called for gun control.
“…education and legislation at the national, state, and local levels that would limit and control the sale and use of firearms, easy access to which is a major factor in crimes of violence. We oppose efforts of “gun lobbies” that repeatedly have thwarted the passage of effective legislation and we pledge our support to those who are working for responsible control of this deadly traffic.”
ORTHODOX JEWS: For Gun Control:
“We endorse common sense gun regulation including banning of certain sophisticated attack weapons, and continue to support meaningful gun control efforts.”
PAN-JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS have made more recent and more explicit statements endorsing gun control.
B’NAI B’RITH: For Gun Control
“B’nai B’rith calls for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1994, but was not renewed when it expired a decade later. At the time, 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country urged the law be renewed and strengthened. Other meaningful, enforceable gun control measures are also needed.”
THE JEWISH COUNCILE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: For Gun Control
This link comes from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs states:
“The JCPA has created a petition expressing our community’s pain and our resolve to enact comprehensive reform, including meaningful legislation to limit access to assault weapons and ensure access to quality mental health care for all who need it.”
This article from the Jerusalem Post surveys the Pan-Jewish political responses.
House Members: Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Ted Deutsch (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Sander M. Levin (D-MI), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Steve Israel (D-NY), Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Jarrold Nadler (D-NY), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Senate Members: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Al Franken (D-MN), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA: For Gun Control
“To communicate to Congress and the President of the United States the urgent concern of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America regarding the violence associated with the widespread availability of handguns and military assault weapons and [regarding] our support for the Brady Bill and other controls over the manufacture, sale, and private ownership of handguns and military assault weapons…”
1994 Churchwide Assembly Resolution
“To communicate to Congress and the President of the United States the urgent concern of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America regarding the violence associated with the widespread availability of handguns and military assault weapons and [regarding] our support for the Brady Bill and other controls over the manufacture, sale, and private ownership of handguns and military assault weapons;
To call upon all of our congregations, synods, and appropriate agencies to work for the passage and strict enforcement of local, state, and national legislation as appropriate, that rigidly controls the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, purchase, transfer, receipt, possession or transportation of handguns, assault weapons, and assault-like weapons and their parts, excluding rifles and shotguns used for hunting and sporting purposes, for use other than law enforcement and military purposes”
House Members: Lois Capps (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom Letham (R-IA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Tim Walz (D-MN), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Diane Black (R-TN), John Carter (R-TX), Tom Petri (R-WI), Denny Heck, D-WA
Senate Members: Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tim Johnson (D-SD)
MISSOURI SYNOD: No available statement
House Members: Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Shimkus (R-IL), Larry Buschon (R-IN), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY)
WISCONSIN SYNOD: No available statement
House Member: Ron Kind (D-WI)
Senate Member: Ron Johnson (R-WI)
MENNONITES: No official statement, but a long history of pacifism
METHODIST: For Gun Control
Revised and Re-adopted Resolution (2008)
“5. Support federal legislation in the US Congress to regulate the importation, manufacturing, sale, and possession of guns and ammunition by the general public. Such legislation should include provisions for the registration and licensing of gun purchasers and owners, appropriate background investigation and waiting periods prior to gun purchase, and regulation of subsequent sale…”
House Members: Tom Cotton (R-AR), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Rich Nugent (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL), Rob Woodall (R-GA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Edward Whifield (R-KY), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Mike Rogers (R-MI), John Kline (R-MN), Bennie Thompson (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Lee Terry (R-NE), Richard Judson (R-NC), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Tom Cole (R-OK), Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Phil Roe (R-TN), Joe L. Barton (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Kay Granger (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Senate Members: Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH)
MORMONS: No Official Statement
However, recently, Mayor Bloomberg discovered that “The Mormon Church owns one of the most active and unregulated gun sale portals on the web, according to a national investigation released by the New York City Mayor’s office.”
House Members: Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), Raul R. Labrador (R-ID), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Chris Stewart (R-UT)
Senate Members: Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Michael D. Crapo (R-ID), Dean Heller (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Tom Udall (D-NM), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT)
MUSLIMS: In response to the Trayvon Martin shooting, the Islamic Society of North America has issued a statement for gun control, and signed a letter to Harry Reid from a group called “Faiths United against Gun Violence:”
“On behalf of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence and our 36 national member organizations (see attached list), I write to express our strong opposition to S. 2188 and S. 2213. This dangerous legislation, which some have referred to as the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act,” would force states to let Trayvon Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, and thousands of other concealed carriers like him, carry loaded hidden handguns from Times Square to Topeka, from Maine to California. It would allow tens of thousands of concealed carry permit holders, such as those with violent backgrounds similar to Zimmerman’s, take their guns and their “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality just about anywhere they go.
Allowing armed and dangerous people to legally carry loaded and hidden handguns across state lines is not our vision of America. This law would make this a terrifying reality, even if your state has tougher, more sensible laws that would prevent someone like Trayvon Martin’s killer — who had an arrest record and a violent past — from getting a concealed carry permit.
The faith community is standing up and flatly rejecting the gun lobby’s vision of America. It is time we replace it with a vision shared by many of us throughout the nation — a vision of an America where young people can go out to buy a pack of Skittles and a soft drink in safety.”
Additionally, I received this information from the ISNA:
“…we join Faith United and the CSGV [Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] in calling on Congress and the President to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and those with serious mental illness by closing gaps in the background check system, including requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. Currently, 40% of gun sales occur without a criminal background check, and 74% of members of the National Rifle Association agree that criminal background checks should be required for every gun purchase. We also ask that federal policies enhance law enforcement’s ability to combat the flow of illegal guns into our communities and enforce existing gun laws.
We have signed onto Statements of Principles for both Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence and the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence. Both call for the following measures to be taken, among others:
- Keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and those with serious mental illness by closing gaps in the background check system, including requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales.
- Supporting policies that enhance law enforcement’s ability to combat the flow of illegal guns into our communities and enforce existing gun laws.
- Supporting new technologies to help law enforcement more effectively trace crime guns and supporting development of safety features to childproof guns.
- Urging firearms retailers to implement protocols aimed at preventing “straw purchases” and the sales of firearms to prohibited purchasers.”
House Members: Andre Carson (D-IN), Keith Ellison (D-MN)
CHURCH OF THE NAZARENES: No official statements
House Member: Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
ORTHODOX TRADITIONS: No official Statements, but lean toward opposing gun control:
“The Church affirms that which is revealed by God—in this instance, “thou shalt not kill.” In principle, the Church would say that guns are not, in and of themselves, “evil,” even though they can indeed be used for evil purposes, such as willfully shooting one’s classmates in a junior high school or knocking off a rival gang member or murdering one’s spouse because the nagging has pushed one beyond the brink of annoyance.
The bottom line, then, is that one must control how one uses one’s gun, discerning when it is right to use it and when it isn’t.”
House Members: Darrell Issa [Antioch Orthodox Christian Church] (R-CA), Gus Bilirakis [Greek] (R-FL), John Sarbanes [Greek] (D-MD), Justin Amash [Greek] (R-MI), Dina Titus [Greek] (D-NV)
PENTECOSTALS: No official statement
House Member: Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
PRESBYTERIANS: For Gun Control
1994 Social Message
“As we move toward a more comprehensive address of community violence, we join with other religious communities in anti-violence initiatives that:
- offer vital spiritual and moral resources for replacing fear and violence with hope and reconciliation in our homes, communities and nation;
- stem the proliferation of guns in our streets, schools and homes;
- counter the “culture of violence” that pervades our national culture and media;
- build strong anti-violence coalitions in our neighborhoods and communities;
- develop peer mediation skills in the schools; and
- protect our youth from the epidemic of violence through equitable law enforcement, and the promotion of education, social programs, anti-drug programs and real job opportunities.
We also join with others in working through government and with the advertising and media industries to find ways to respect free expression while abhorring and seeing appropriate ways to limit expressions of violence in electronic media and film.”
In the Full Rationale for Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call—From the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, it’s written:
“God has provided us with the elements to be agents of change in the world. The change needs to be comprehensive: we need to address the idolatry of guns, the violence that permeates our culture, our obsessions with personal rights over public responsibility, the practices of widespread and indiscriminate sale of military style weapons, as well as the legislation necessary to regulate the accessibility and sale of military weapons disguised as “sporting guns.” We must keep our “eyes on the prize,” of preventing gun violence and the unnecessary deaths and injuries that result. Enough blood has been spilled. We affirm that through good organizational effort, animated by the passion for justice that comes to the people of God through the Holy Spirit, gun violence can be dramatically reduced.
House Members: Martha Roby (R-AL), John Campbell (R-CA), Jeff Denhham (R-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jime Himes (D-CT), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Tom Price (R-GA), Luke Messer (R-IN), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Candice S. Miller (R-MI), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Billy Long (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Howard Coble (R-NC), Melvin Watt (D-NC), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (TN), John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr (R-TN), William M. “Mac” Thornberry (R-TX), Robert Hurt (R-VA), Frank R. Wolf (R-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV)
Senate Members: Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Rand Paul (R-KY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kay Hagan (D-NC), James M Inhofe (R-OK), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mark Warner (D-VA), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
QUAKERS/FRIENDS: For Gun Control
Although a specific statement could not be found at the national level, Quakers have a long history of non-violence. Here is one link on their national site encouraging advocacy for gun control.
House Member: Rush D. Holt (D-NJ)
ROMAN CATHOLICS: For Gun Control
….but that stance is embedded in documents not directly and specifically related to gun violence.
Still, not surprisingly, given their commitment to life, they are perhaps the most clearly opposed to guns, even advocating that “Since such a significant number of violent offenses are committed with handguns and within families, we believe that handguns need to be effectively controlled and eventually eliminated from our society. We acknowledge that controlling the possession of handguns will not eliminate gun violence, but we believe it is an indispensable element of any serious or rational approach to the problem.”
This link points to the relevant documents, and the following also details their opposition to guns: Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, which states “As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.”
House Members: Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Ann Kirkpatric (D-AZ), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Grace F. Napolitano, D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Juan C. Vargas (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John B. Larson (D-CT), John Carney (D-DE), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Trey Radel (R-FL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Peter J. Visciosky (D-IN), Steve King (R-IA), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Michael H. Michaud (D-ME), John Delaney (D-MD), Andy Harris (R-MD), Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), William Keating (D-MA), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), Dave Camp (R-MI), John D. Dingell (D-MI), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Steven M. Palazzo (R-MS), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Joe Heck (R-NV), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY), Chris Collins (R-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Chris Gibson (R0NY), Michael G. Grimm (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Peter T. King (R-NY), Dan Maffei (D-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Bill Owens (D-NY), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Walter B. Jones (NC), Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC), John Boehner (R-OH), Steve Chabot (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bob Latta (R-OH), James B. Renacci (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Tom Marino (R-PA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Pete Gallego (D-TX), Ruben Jinojosa (D-TX), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), James P. Moran (D-VA), Sean P. Duffy (R-WI), Paul D. Ryan (R-WI)
Senate Members: Mark Begich (D-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA), David Vitter (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), John Kerry (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Maria Vantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joe Manchin III (D-WV)
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS: For Gun Control
“Pursuits of peace and the preservation of life are to be the goals of Christians. Evil cannot be effectively met with evil, but must be overcome with good. Seventh-day Adventists, with other people of good will, wish to cooperate in using every legitimate means of reducing, and eliminating where possible, the root causes of crime. In addition, with public safety and the value of human life in mind, the sale of automatic or semi-automatic assault weapons should be strictly controlled. This would reduce the use of weapons by mentally disturbed people and criminals, especially those involved in drug and gang activities.”
House Members: Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
UNITARIANS: For Gun Control:
In a statement dated from 1991, the denomination declares:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists be encouraged to petition legislators to enact and support laws such as:
- the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1991 (HR7) in the United States, which is intended to place nationally uniform, effective limitations on individual possession of
- handguns, including waiting periods, licensing, and registration;
- the “Mitchell Compromise”; and
- Bill C-80 (1991) in Canada, which is intended to make the purchase of firearms more difficult;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists be urged to petition legislators to include safety training programs as a mandatory condition that must be met before firearms can be owned and used; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists in the United States be urged to petition legislators to enact and support laws banning private ownership or use of machine guns and semi-automatic and automatic assault weapons.”
House Members: Ami Bera (D-CA)
UNITED BRETHREN: No official statement
House Member: Scott Perry (R-PA)
UNITED CHURCH OF GOD: No official statement
Senate Member: Joe Tester (D-MT)
NON-DENOMINATIONAL OR CHRISTIANS WITH NO STATED DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION:
Representatives: Mo Brooks (R-AL); Ken Calvert (R-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Gary G. Miller (R-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Grace Meng (D-NY), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Michael R. Turner [Presbyterian?] (R-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Doc Hastings [Presbyterian?] (R-WA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Senators: Mark Pryor (D-AK), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
NO RELIGIOUS IDENTIFICATION:
Representatives: Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Senators: Michael Bennet (D-CO). Mark Udall (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Representatives: Tammy Duckworth [Deist] (D-IL), Suzanne Bonamici [raised Episcopalian and Unitarian, goes to Synagogue with husband and children] (D-OR)
Sundry other information and links:
A number of other resources gave insight to this blog’s survey of the religious takes on gun control. A few:
Religionlink.com compiled this helpful summary, and this one, written after Newtown, of religious takes on gun control. Both links are stellar, and essential for someone wanting to do a fuller study of religious perspectives on gun control.
The Brady Center has a strong working group, mentioned above, called “Faiths United against Gun Violence.” Their advocacy for gun control can be found here.
The National Council of Churches also advocates for gun control in this document from 2010:
(1) call upon our local, state, and federal legislators to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal “gun show loophole,” which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase.
(2) participate with movements such as “Heeding God’s Call” (http://www.heedinggodscall.org/) to insist that commercial sellers adopt and adhere to responsible sales practices.
(3 )prayerfully, financially, and otherwise support the NCC staff in coordinating ecumenical efforts for gun violence reduction, including preparing educational materials about the magnitude of gun violence, developing avenues for dialogue among gun owners and gun control advocates within our congregations, and offering a faithful witness in cooperating with inter-faith and nonreligious anti-gun violence advocacy organizations.
Embedded in that document is reference to this group, Heeding God’s Call.
“Heeding God’s Call is a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence. We unite people of faith in the sacred responsibility to protect our brothers, sisters and children.
- We embrace Dr. Martin Luther King’s hope for peace and safety in our communities.
- We resist apathy to this epidemic of violence, because fear, closed doors, and separation will not end it.
We unite to bring God’s vision of a peaceable kingdom, without the violent loss of over 30,000 American lives by gunfire each year.”
Anna, I appreciate your thorough work in getting all this info together! I think the American Baptist position could be highlighted, since it is reasonable, and different from the Southern Baptist position: http://www.abc-usa.org/2013/04/02/abhms-continues-gun-violence-prevention-advocacy/
Also, here is more on the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop’s recent stance on Gun violence: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/presiding-bishop-katharine-jefferts-schori-gun-violence