Standing with the Clergy of Newtown

We have witnessed the scourge of gun violence in our neighborhoods, and our hearts are broken. A group of clergy and faith leaders from Newtown, Conn., has asked people of faith to stand in solidarity with them in calling on Congress to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that will help stop the slaughter.

The U.S. Congress is poised to vote on proposals to include a ban on high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking, and prosecution of straw purchasers.

Newtown does not want to be remembered as the town of the tragedy but the bridge to a new and kinder world. Please join the clergy of Newtown in building that bridge by sending this message to your Members of Congress.
Dear [Member of Congress],

It's been less than three months since the Newtown community experienced the unspeakable tragedy of the murder of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The clergy leaders of Newtown have witnessed the scourge of gun violence in our neighborhoods, and I stand with them to call on Congress to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that will help stop the slaughter.

The mandate to protect the weak in our care is clear and present. My values teach me to seek the peace of the city, to love my 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 I know would reduce harm is a violation of my values so severe that I am 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. I hope that you will vote for meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on 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, we will be 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.

[Your comments will be inserted here]

While I fully support laws that we believe will increase gun safety, I also believe that the larger underlying issue behind violence is spiritual: how we view our obligations to each other. I draw from a wellspring of tradition that will transform us into a culture of compassion, reconciliation and civility. I commit myself 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 I and those with whom I raise my voice 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.
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