Put away violence and oppression, and do what is just and right. (Ezekiel 45:9, NRSVue)
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) extends prayers and condolences to the AAPI communities of Half Moon Bay and Monterrey Park, California, following the horrific mass shootings there over the past few days. These acts of violence are particularly jarring, as they occurred around the celebration of Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, a symbol that reflects peace, empathy, and reflection.
Our country is awash in weaponry, and most especially weapons of war, as demonstrated by the frequent use of high-capacity magazines and assault rifles to commit such heinous deeds. Nevertheless, we reject the notion that these all too commonplace acts of carnage are inevitable or normative to life in the United States. No one should live in fear of a mass shooting because no place feels safe—not school, not the grocery store, not a festive gathering, and not even church.
In the first three weeks of 2023, 39 mass shootings have taken place across the country. At least 69 people have been killed and many more injured. For detailed information on mass shootings statistics in the U.S., visit the Gun Violence Archive (www.gunviolencearchive.org).
Whether at the hands of an unknown assailant boiling with hatred or someone familiar to us, or even at our own hand, we pray for deliverance from the scourge of the true weapons of mass destruction in our nation—guns. We join President Biden in urging Congress to act quickly to pass meaningful reform legislation that supports safe, responsible ownership and implements safety measures from the menace of gun violence.
Even people of faith have grown weary of platitudes in response to these tragedies. Now is the time to put feet and hands to those thoughts and prayers. Now is the time for action.
NCC is committed to continuing its work toward a society where such acts of violence are no longer a part of our legacy, and where people can live without fear. We call for unity, regardless of political ideology or religion, to ensure that Americans are no longer vulnerable to or victimized by gun violence.