2020_010_A
Support the Café
Search our site

We can prevent this

We can prevent this

Bishop Mariann Budde of Washington reflects on what it will take to change the apparent lock that the gun lobby has on legislators and the culture.

EDOW Bishop’s blog:

A journalist in Arizona called to ask if I had any thoughts on how Richard Martinez, the outspoken father a young man killed in last Friday’s shooting in Isla Vista California, could craft a persuasive gun control message. In his grief, Martinez has said that he is determined to speak and to act until something changes. But the journalist had her doubts. Angry, grieving families and rising body counts aren’t persuading those opposed to measures such as universal background checks, limits on high capacity magazines, stricter gun trafficking laws, a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, and addressing the inadequacies of our mental healthcare system.

“I’ve been following the gun legislation debates since Arizona congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was shot three years ago,” she told me. Nothing has changed. I told her that many of the religious leaders who took up the cause for sensible gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, including me, thought that the tide was turning, and that we could finally overcome those who financially benefit from the sale and illegal trafficking of increasingly lethal guns. We were wrong.

While small gains have been made in some places, to date, we haven’t been able to move national legislation. And so the shooting continues, every day, somewhere, as if this were normal; as if, in the words of the satirical newspaper The Onion: There is No Way to Prevent This.

And yet, I told her, if you want to understand the kind of work we’re engaged in, think back on other changes that we take for granted now that seemed impossible as people fought for them. When you watch an episode of Mad Men or a movie from the 1960s, you see people chain smoking cigarettes everywhere. Do you remember how impossible it felt to change laws that affected our smoking habits?

Or consider, I said, the long struggle for basic civil rights for African Americans and other citizens of color in this country. While we have a long way to go toward the goal of racial equality, fifty years ago people were beaten, arrested, and even killed for trying to integrate restaurants and buses. Can you imagine living in that America now?

Or remember even as recently as a decade ago, when the idea of marriage equality for gays and lesbians was unimaginable, and the forces opposed to gay marriage—even the most basic of civil unions—prevailed in the cultural debate. That tide has turned in ways that even the most ardent, hopeful marriage equality advocate of ten years ago would have found hard to imagine.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

4 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Donald Schell

I’m reminded of Adam Hochschild’s account of how a handful of people in the 1780’s set to work ending the slave trade in England. The trade was completely part of British economy, life and morals. Our church had significant endowment monies invested in slavery. And the institution of slavery and institution of the Christian church had lived more or less accommodatingly for 1800 years. The notion of ending the trade appeared as impossible as ending the gun trade in the U.S., maybe even more so. They seem to have invented the political reform movement as we know it. The story Hochschild tells is dense with setbacks, discouragement, power moves by the trade’s equivalents of the NRA. It took more than 50 years in Britain, and emancipation in the U.S. was thirty years after that. How many times did they think, “this time we’re going to do it?” How many times did they wonder if change would ever happen? When did it look like a final defeat?

Donald Schell

I’m reminded of Adam Hochschild’s account of how a handful of people in the 1780’s set to work ending the slave trade in England. The trade was completely part of British economy, life and morals. Our church had significant endowment monies invested in slavery. And the institution of slavery and institution of the Christian church had lived more or less accommodatingly for 1800 years. The notion of ending the trade appeared as impossible as ending the gun trade in the U.S., maybe even more so. They seem to have invented the political reform movement as we know it. The story Hochschild tells is dense with setbacks, discouragement, power moves by the trade’s equivalents of the NRA. It took more than 50 years in Britain, and emancipation in the U.S. was thirty years after that. How many times did they think, “this time we’re going to do it?” How many times did they wonder if change would ever happen? When did it look like a final defeat?

tgflux

Ora et Labora, alice. Never stop praying—but never stop WORKING for change, either.

:::”three fingers point back at me”:::

Now, what am *I* going to do? (Besides sign Yet Another Online Petition)

Holy Spirit, inspire&lead your people!

JC Fisher

alice d gray

I’m sorry, but it have completely given up on the gun lobby and violence in our country. This is rooted in and tied to soooo many other iron-clad factors in our country which will never change. We no longer live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy where our so-called politicians have been bought and paid for. My vote means nothing. I do vote, but I don’t believe it counts any longer. We worship guns and weapons on the altar of violence and control, and clothe this in a mantle of pseudo Christianity. I have given up on FaceBook and Twitter, and accept that I can live as a Christian in my world and environment where I can control only those gifts given to me by the grace of God. I pray the Daily Office and meditate twice daily, believing that only this practice now can change anything. I believe that it is only by consistent prayer and meditation, joining with those who, in this world do likewise, that any grain of sand in this violent society will ever change. I put this in God’s hands now. I have lost almost all belief that humankind will ever correct this travesty. Peace. Please. _/|\_

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café