5,000 signatures reached
To: James W. Porter II, President of the National Rifle Association
Tell the NRA: A Catholic priest protecting Chicago kids is not a ‘terrorist’
As Catholics and people of faith, we respectfully ask you to publicly denounce the offensive characterization your local affiliate made of Catholic priest and gun-safety advocate Fr. Michael Pfleger.
Your local affiliate irresponsibly compared Fr. Pflager to ISIS, the notorious terrorist organization who recently beheaded two Americans. As we try to make the world safer and less violent for our children, this type of personal attack should have no place in our public debate.
Why is this important?
Fr. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic leader organizing against gun violence in Chicago, was viciously attacked by a local chapter of the NRA. In an effort to smear his character, the Illinois State Rifle Association compared Fr. Pfleger to ISIS.
Father Pfleger is a community hero in Chicago who has fought to save the lives of children and teenagers. He has relentlessly sought to hold gun shops and gun manufacturers accountable for profiting off the bloodshed they produce.
He was compared to ISIS after speaking at a rally at Chuck’s Gun Shop where he asked gun shop owners to make sure their weapons don’t get into the hands of criminals. (Chuck’s is the #1 supplier of the guns used in murders on the southside of Chicago. They sold more guns between 1996 and 2000 that ended up in the hands of criminals than any store in the country.)
As people of faith, we are called to ask the National Rifle Association to distance itself from the violent, painful, and reckless words of its local affiliate. Father Pfleger should be praised for his courageous work to heal our country and prevent gun violence, not targeted with violence in the form of painful and irresponsible smears.
Right now, the NRA has the opportunity to make amends and show its commitment to dialogue about gun violence prevention with community leaders who are on the frontlines and working to heal our country.
If we as a nation want to protect our children from gun violence, we have to challenge the NRA’s misleading and often hateful language, which spreads fear and undermines public support for reform. This is our chance to invite the NRA to support a faith leader with a goal we all share: To protect our children and end gun violence.
How it will be delivered
If we can get 2,000 signatures, Catholics United will personally hand deliver the petition to the headquarters of the National Rifle Association along with other Catholic leaders and victims of gun violence. We have a unique opportunity. We can either force the NRA to publicly denounce their local chapter or, if they choose not to comply, expose just how extreme the NRA’s rhetoric has become in our public debate.