ECC Grieves Mass Shootings, Calls for Common-sense Gun Control and Stands Against Racism, Xenophobia
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CHICAGO (Aug. 8, 2019)—The Evangelical Covenant Church is heartbroken at the loss of 31 lives during this past weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We grieve the daily loss of life due to gun violence in our nation’s streets and neighborhoods. Yet we recognize that offering thoughts and prayers are not enough: Gun violence is an epidemic and a public health crisis that must be stopped.
We call for common-sense gun control measures that include national red flag laws allowing police to temporarily confiscate firearms from those deemed by a judge to pose a danger to themselves or others, universal background checks, a ban on military-style assault weapons and limiting access to firearms for those who have been convicted of domestic violence. According to the nonprofit, Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun homicide rate in the United States is 25 times that of other high-income countries. We must exercise a greater degree of regulation and responsibility regarding access to guns for the safety of our children and our communities.
The ECC is also grieved to learn of the alleged anti-immigrant nature of the shooting in El Paso. The Covenant stands against white supremacy and all forms of individual and systemic racism.
“In the powerful name of Jesus, we come against strongholds of hatred and violence,” says ECC President John Wenrich. “We mourn with those who mourn during times of tragedy, injustice and hardship. Let us bring comfort to one another, for we comfort others with the comfort we have received from Christ.”
Covenant leaders, including Wenrich, endorsed an anti-racism resolution at Gather 2019 in June, which was passed by the Ministerium with an 84-percent vote. The resolution calls for “white clergy to attend to the sins of our own community and make a public commitment to prioritize antiracism work within our ministerium. The church’s evasion of racism has blinded us to the depth and breadth of suffering that members of our body are enduring. The devastating hardships inflicted upon people of color in the current crises of immigration and mass incarceration have convicted us that we must address our racism as it contributes to these crises.”
In solidarity with World Relief and other evangelical leaders, Wenrich also signed a forthcoming petition calling for immigration reform that includes a list of general principles to guide the conversation. Wenrich invites Covenanters to fast and pray once a week for peace, justice, reconciliation and healing in our land and for breakthroughs in fixing our broken immigration system.
“As an immigrant denomination,” he says, “we pray the Evangelical Covenant Church is a welcome and nurturing place for all people and a prophetic witness against all forms of racism.”