Bishops tell why they will wear orange on June 2nd

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Bishop Mariann Budde of Washington and Bishop Ian T. Douglas of Connecticut tell why they will orange as they work for an end to gun violence.

Budde writes on the blog of the Diocese of Washington:

Once a year, in honor of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl shot and killed in Chicago in 2013, her friends wear orange to remember her and symbolize their desire to be seen. Hunters wear orange to keep others from killing them, they reasoned, and so they would do the same.

That prophetic act has become an annual event across the nation. This year, with other members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I’m joining in, as an act of prayer and a visible reminder to myself and others that evil persists when people of goodwill do nothing.

If you’d like to be inspired to take a stand for what is right, watch the video that tells the story of Hadiya’s friends. What if, in memory of all who have lost their lives to gun violence, we all wore orange on June 2nd and then again on Sunday June 5th? It could be our collective prayer and witness, joining with others across the country. You can learn more here .

I know it’s not easy to talk about the issues that divide us as Americans, such as gun violence, from the perspective of our Christian faith. But we simply must persevere with courage and love. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Douglas writes on the Christian Century blog:

Here in Connecticut, we have learned about remembering those who have lost their lives because of senseless gun violence. An image, a phrase, a chance meeting, or a date on the calendar so easily brings back the profound tragedy of December 14, 2012, when Adam Lanza shot and killed first his mother, and then 20 school children, six adults, and finally himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With sacred and secular rituals of memorial services and vigils, we struggle to honor and cherish the loved ones we have lost.

We owe our children something we can no longer give them—safety, protection, a society in which the slaughter of innocents is unthinkable rather than routine. Sadly, the best we can do is redouble our efforts to provide some sense of security to the children who are still with us. The work is urgent: in the three years after the tragedy in Newtown, a child under 12 was shot and killed in this country every other day.

That is why I am wearing orange on June 2 to mark National Gun Violence Prevention Day. I hope you will, too

He cites some sobering statistics that frame the crisis in gun related violence:

Whenever faith leaders take up a cause such as gun violence prevention we can count on a few correspondents urging us to stay out of politics and stick to what we know. So here are a few things I know:

One more thing I know: a society that does not work to end violence against God’s children has no claim to righteousness.

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Stephen Mills
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Stephen Mills

Sadly, this will do little but divert attention to the real solutions to violence. Even nations with the strictest gun laws have mass shootings. Here in California we have all the "common sense" gun regulations a person would want and the net effect on gun violence has been negligible.

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Alvah, there are more worthy causes than we could ever hope to imagine. Some, the "squeaky wheels," get the grease--and the money. (I detest seeing a pink ribbon on my cereal box!)

So, yes, we all have to pick and choose.

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Got my orange stole today! Ready to wear it at Sunday services on June 5.

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Charles Caskey
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Charles Caskey

I look forward to wearing orange in memory of a teen in a former parish who was the victim of random gun violence in Milwaukee. The deacon in my current parish in Springfield, Missouri, will join me in wearing an orange stole on June 5th.

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Alvah Whealton
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Alvah Whealton

To remain silent in the face of evil is an evil, itself. But what about cherry picking the evils we protest and those we countenance?

According to the National Safety Council, in 2015, U.S. traffic accidents were responsible for 38,300 deaths and an additional 4,400,000 injuries.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

While we do have to choose what we can reasonably address, there are good reasons to respond to gun violence. Traffic accidents are accidents. Gun deaths are willful, even if it's the will of a negligent parent keeping loaded guns within reach of children who grab them.

The school shootings are particularly heinous (obviously in my view). But we have the Biblical story of the Slaughter of the Innocents. It calls us to respond.

I'm really glad the bishops are on it.

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