The Diocese of Des Moines
Bishop, faith leaders calling for common sense laws to address gun violence
December 10, 2015
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Bishop Richard Pates joined local interfaith leaders in our community addressing gun violence in the United States. The status quo is no longer acceptable when lives are at risk, they said. Here is what was printed in The Des Moines Register this morning.

 

As faith leaders from across Iowa, we see our nation becoming increasingly violent and unsafe for our children and our communities. Whether it is San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Chicago, Denver, Newtown, Des Moines or Iowa City, our children are faced with the possibility, and for some children the inevitability, of a gun being used against them or someone they love. Our children’s sense of community and safety has shifted dramatically.

We have become a nation described by the violence we see on the nightly news. Shocking images from our streets. Law enforcement harming or killing citizens. Men abusing women. And, mass shootings perpetrated against everyday people who are carrying out the norms of life.  

Mass shootings at schools, parks, theaters, stores, malls, public building, offices, houses of worship and more. Mass shootings with assault-style weapons and handguns, both legal and illegal. Mass shootings killing three, nine, 12, 26 people in split seconds. Mass shootings that now number in the hundreds in one year. Mass shootings that are now the expectation, rather than the anomaly. When did it become mundane rather than horrific to learn about another mass shooting?

Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, Hindu, Buddhist, or Sikh, as faith leaders we also wonder when did we as a society decide that a person’s right to own a gun outweighs the value of another person’s right to live?

Iowans of faith and of goodwill know that, when it comes to guns and gun violence, the status quo is no longer acceptable. We have a responsibility to our communities and to our children to keep them safe with common sense laws and it is time to act.

As faith leaders, while prayer is core to our faith traditions and we will certainly spend time in that sacred act, prayer without action leads us nowhere. We believe the tide has changed and action must be taken.

We support three critical corrections to our laws that currently allow too easy of access to guns that results in unnecessary violence in our society. We call for a requirement that every gun buyer pass a criminal background check, to remove military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off our streets, and to make gun trafficking a federal crime.

We ask that all people of faith participate in this weekend’s Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, December 10–14.  Pray, recite holy text and readings, and impart wisdom. But, above all, pledge to take action. 

Today, we demand that our elected officials stand on the right side of history and join the solution in stopping the rampant proliferation of guns and the resulting violence facing our nation. It is our responsibility and it is the responsibility of lawmakers to take action to stem the tide of gun violence and make our society safer for our children.

Signed by:

Connie Ryan Terrell, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

Rev. Dr. Mary Newbern-Williams, Presbyter, Presbytery of Missouri River Valley

The Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Des Moines

Rev. Dr. Rich Pleva, Iowa Conference Minister, United Church of Christ

The Right Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Rev. Bill Spangler-Dunning, Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

Rev. Wendy K. Abrahamson, Grinnell

Rev. Marsha Acord, Iowa City

Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, Des Moines

Rev. Laura Arnold, Decorah

Rev. Ryan Arnold, Des Moines

Pastor Beth Bachman Caulfield, Ames

Rev. Beverlee Bell, Urbandale

Rev. Dr.Benjamin C. Bell Jr., Des Moines

Rev. Cathi Bencken, Muscatine

Rev. Bill Bernau, Johnston

Rev. Dr. Kenneth R. Bickel, Dubuque

Rev. Nancy Bickel, Dubuque

Rev. W. Michael Biklen, Muscatine

Rev. Dr. Jeff Blackman, Iowa Falls and Alden

Rev. Jim Boardman, Des Moines

Rev. Minna Bothwell, Des Moines

Rev. Brad Braley, Cedar Falls

Rev. Judy Brandon, Melbourne

Rev. Charles L. Briem, Des Moines

Rev. Kenneth E. Briggs, Des Moines

Rev. Dr.Jeremy J. Brigham, Cedar Rapids

Pastor Candice K. Brown, Des Moines

Rev. Wallace W. Bubar, Des Moines

Rev. Lydia Kelsey Bucklin, Des Moines

Rev. Chris Burtnett, Algona

Rabbi Robert Cabelli, Grinnell

Rev. Kathryn S. Campbell, Charles City

Rev. Brian Carter, Windsor Heights

Rev. Owen Cayton, Ankeny

Pastor John R. Chaplin, Des Moines

Rev. Larry Christensen, Des Moines

Rev. Dick Clark, Waukee

Rev. Kathleen Clark, Des Moines

Rev. Mary Cole-Duvall, West Des Moines

Rev. Paul Collier, Mason City

Rev. Liz Colton, Oskaloosa

Rev. Denny Coon, Ankeny

Rev. Christine Cowan, Ogden

Rev. Belinda Creighton-Smith, Waterloo

Rev. R.Jerry Crenshaw, Des Moines

Rev. Wyatt J. Dagit, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Margaret Debner, Marion

Rev. Dr. Dennis Dickman, Waverly

Rev. Barbara Dinnen, Des Moines

Rev. Maureen Doherty, Cedar Falls

Rev. Ryan Dowell Baum, Sioux City

Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank, Des Moines

Pastor Beth Ehlers, Milford

Rev. Timothy Ensworth, Waterloo

Rev. Dr. Mary L. Fraser, Des Moines

Rev. Andrew Gangle ,Waukee

Rev. Eileen Gebbie, Ames

Dr. Fred Gee, Des Moines

Rev. Wiliam F. Gentry II, McGregor

Rev. Erin Gingrich, Des Moines

Rev. Patricia Goldberg, Des Moines

Pastor Bill Griffee, Orchard

Rev. Debbie Griffin, Des Moines

Rev. Ken Gross, Greenfield

Rev. Chet Guinn, Des Moines

Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, Urbandale

Sr. Elaine Hagedorn, CHM, Des Moines

Sr. Jeanie Hagedorn, CHM, Des Moines

Rev. Dawn Halstead, Urbandale

Rev. Dr.Sam Hamilton-Poore, Ames

Rev. Terry Hamilton-Poore, Ames

Rev. John B. Harper, Iowa City

Pastor Rich Hendricks, Davenport

Rev. Cynthia Hickman, West Des Moines

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis, Ames

Pastor Douglas L. Holmgren, Des Moines

Rev. Raisin Horn, Iowa City

Rev. Samantha Houser, Waukon

Rev. Sherri Hughes-Empke, Des Moines

Rev. Carlos Jayne, Des Moines

Rev. Jonna Jensen, Des Moines

Rev. Patricia Johnson, Sioux City

Rev. Paul Johnson, Des Moines

Rev. Dr.Judith Jones, Waverly

Rev. Wayne K. Kamm, Mount Pleasant

Rabbi David Kaufman, Des Moines

Pastor Chuck Kelsey, Mason City

Rev. Lucille King, Hiawatha

Rev. Naomi Kirstein, Des Moines

Rev. Robert Koepcke, Muscatine

Deacon Elizabeth Koffron-Eisen, Coralville

Chaplain Kay Kopatich, Urbandale

Rev. Daniel Kuckuck, Urbandale

Rev. Carmen Lampe Zeitler, Des Moines

Rev. Chuck Lane, Waterloo

Rev. Bob Loffer, Iowa City

Rev. Dr. Sharon Mahood, Des Moines

Rev. Matt Mardis-LeCroy, Des Moines

Pastor Kathy Martin, Sioux City

Rev. Jean McCarthy, Des Moines

Rev. Michael McCarthy, Des Moines

Deacon John McCully, Ames

Rev. Kent C. McKusick, Ames

Rev. Russ Melby, Ames

Rev. Steve Melby, Des Moines

Rev. Fredrich Mellberg, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Valerie Miller-Coleman, Des Moines

Pastor Donald Morgan, Red Oak

Rev. Carol Myers, Iowa Falls

Rev. Vernon H. Naffier, Ankeny

Rev. Roy Nilsen, Des Moines

Rev. Gary Nims, Urbandale

Rev. Patricia Adams Oberbillig, Des Moines

Rev. Chris Olkiewicz, Windsor Heights

Rev. Lisa Olsen Gaston, Davenport

Rev. Canon Ronald Osborne, Indianola

Dr. William Painter, Glenwood

Pastor Lisa Parker, Ankeny

Rev. Jessica Petersen, Newton

Rev. Suzanne Peterson, Waterloo

Fr. David Polich, Osceola

Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel, Mount Vernon

Rev. Craig Radden Henderson, Denver

Rev. Ruth Ratliff, Cedar Falls

Rev. Julia Tipton Rendon, Indianola

Sr. Johanna Rickl, Davenport

Rev. Dr. David Ruhe, Des Moines

Rev. Marilyn J. Sargent, Tripoli

Rev. Medea Saunders, Ankeny

Pastor Lee A. Schott, Mitchellville

Rev. Juanita Scriven, Urbandale

Fr. James Secora, Ames

Rev. Stephen M. Sherer, Earlham

Rev. Deanna Shorb, Grinnell

Rev. David Sickelka, Urbandale

Rev. Diana J. Sickles, Des Moines

Deacon Jean Douglas Smith, West Des Moines

Rev. Dr. Larry Sonner, Urbandale

Pastor Bob Speirs, Des Moines

Rev. Brigit F. Stevens, Des Moines

Rev. William Steward, Des Moines

Rev. Suzanne Stout, Des Moines

Pastor Gayle Strickler, Marshalltown

Rev.  Mark Stringer, Des Moines

Rev. LeAnn Stubbs, Des Moines

Rev. Dr. David Swinton, Des Moines

Rev. Cheryl R. Thomas, Des Moines

Pastor Rachel Thorson Mithelman, Des Moines

Chaplain Lisa J. Tierney, Des Moines

Susan M. Tierney, Des Moines

Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott, Clive

Pastor Kelly Vander Woude, Ames

Rev. Benjamin Webb, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Margaret Yoder Weiner, Urbandale

Rev. Charles E. West, Algona

Rev. Kate West, Belle Plaine

Pastor Gayle Wilcox, Cedar Rapids

Pastor Paul Wilcox, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Nathan Willard, Ankeny

Rev. Dr.  Judy Winkelpleck, Clive

Rev. Dr. Heather Withers, Ames

Rev. Paul Witmer, Urbandale

Rev. Cyndee Young, Urbandale


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