On April 17th, the Senate failed to pass background checks, a policy that 90% of Americans, including people of faith, support. We are deeply disappointed, but as one father of a Newtown victim said, "We will not be defeated. We are not defeated & we will not be defeated." Sign the petition to stand with him and Newtown.
Join Newtown Clergy: Tell Senate To Approve Gun Reform
Approve meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking and prosecution of straw purchasers.
Why is this important?
It’s been less than three months since our community experienced the unspeakable tragedy of the murder of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
As the clergy leaders of Newtown, joined by clergy colleagues from across the nation, we have witnessed the scourge of gun violence in our neighborhoods, and we call on Congress to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that will help stop the slaughter.
The moral mandate to protect the weak in our care is clear and present in all of our faith traditions. Our varied faith traditions teach us to seek the peace of the city, to love our neighbor, and to cherish human dignity. To see the rising incidence of gun violence from Chicago to Newtown, Camden to Aurora, Detroit to Tucson – and how that violence particularly targets the young and the poor, especially in America’s urban communities - and yet to refuse to take the steps we know would reduce harm is a violation of religious values so severe that we are compelled to speak out.
Nothing any of us do will bring back the victims murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As a nation we must do all we can to prevent the next tragedy. We pray that you will vote for meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking and prosecution of straw purchasers.
After the news crews and cameras leave, after the rest of the nation turns away and resumes their normal routines, it is we who are asked to answer why this happened; to bind up the brokenhearted; and to explain why nothing in Newtown or our many communities will ever be the same again.
As faith leaders, while we fully support laws that we believe will increase gun safety, we also believe that the larger underlying issue behind violence is spiritual: how we view our obligations to each other in light of our role in God's creation. We draw from a wellspring of tradition that will spark off a spiritual awakening in America that will transform us into a culture of compassion, reconciliation and civility. As faith leaders, we commit ourselves to fostering a culture of peace to complement and serve as a foundation for any proposed gun legislation.
The slaughter of innocence in Newtown awakened our nation to the tragedy of gun violence throughout our land and we shall neither slumber nor sleep. Rather, by tireless commitment, loving hearts and the sustaining promise of our many faiths, we believe that Newtown shall be remembered as the bridge to a new and kinder world.
Rabbi Shaul Praver, Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, CT
Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT
Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown, CT
Chaplain Eman Beshtawii, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT
Azeez Bhavnagarwala, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT
Rev. Mel Kawakami, Newtown United Methodist Church, Newtown, CT
Rev. Leo E. McIlrath, Lutheran Home, Southbury, CT
Khatib Mohamed El Safty, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT
Rev. Jane Sibley, Newtown United Methodis tChurch, Newtown, CT
Rev. Jim Solomon, New Hope Community Church, Newtown, CT
Rev. Janice Touloukian, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT
This campaign was launched with the PICO Network, a national network of faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more here: