Bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina Respond to Shooting at UNC-Chapel Hill
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. - Isaiah 11:9
My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. All the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. - Galatians 5:13-14
Today we once again mourn the loss of life to gun violence after a fatal shooting on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill yesterday afternoon. Once again, campuses were locked down and students cowered in fear--not just college students but also children locked down on the first day of school in nearby public schools.
Once again, we as a society have failed to love our neighbors as ourselves, permitting a culture that accepts violence and normalizes easy access to guns whose sole purpose is to destroy human lives. Once again, our children and our educators have been traumatized, and a life has been lost. Our hearts are with the family, friends and associates of the professor who was killed.
The Rev. Mary Cat Young, Episcopal campus minister at UNC-Chapel Hill, shared in her pastoral letter: “In the midst of the events, I was glad to be able to communicate with many students, assuring them that the prayers of many were holding them in the moment. Today, I invite the community to continue in your own prayers--for peace in mind, body and spirit. Prayers for the strength to face the uncertainty and challenges of each day. Prayers that we may be reflections of God's love to one another, just as others sought to be a prayerful presence to you when you were in need.”
We indeed join the Rev. Young in prayer, and we call for action to staunch the flow of blood and fear in a world where God has called us to peaceful coexistence and love of neighbor. This violence is not of God, and it violates the commands of Christ.
The diocesan Gun Violence Prevention Task Force identifies areas of advocacy and provides education for individuals and churches. Currently, the group is advocating for the North Carolina General Assembly to fund community violence intervention (CVI) programs in the state budget and to keep the concealed carry weapons permitting system the law in North Carolina after last year’s attempted repeal. Your church can become involved in a CVI, or you can contact your representatives in the state legislature to advocate for more funding. Sensible regulation of arms and training in nonviolent response to threats bring us closer to the peace and safety that we seek as part of God’s dream for this world.
Please join us in lifting our prayers to God and in speaking out to those in positions of public authority on this matter of life and death.
Tags: Gun Violence Prevention