Statement on Gun Violence
We, the undersigned members of the Niles Township Clergy Forum, believing in the sacred value of each human life, abhor the gun violence that has killed so many innocent people throughout our land.
In October we were shocked by the carnage in Las Vegas, the worst mass shooting in American history. Little more than one month later we were shocked again, this time by the murder of 26 worshippers – including children – at a church in Texas.
These are only the latest atrocities caused by rapidly firing semi-automatic weapons, which were also used in mass murders in Orlando, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and elsewhere. We therefore beseech our elected leaders to pursue zealously bold but commonsense measures against rapidly firing weapons and devices, which have made killing with guns so chillingly efficient. We also affirm our support for measures that target unscrupulous gun shops, as well as the effective implementation of vigorous background checks for gun ownership.
Our religious creeds diverge in many ways. And yet, compelled by our deepest convictions, we join together, issuing a clarion call for a more peaceful society. Created in the divine image, each member of the human family possesses inestimable worth. Our traditions teach that “to save one life is to save an entire world.” (Talmud Sanhedrin 37a, Quran 5:32), and that we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” (Matthew 22:39) We therefore stand united against gun violence of all sorts, whether occurring in the streets of Chicago or anywhere throughout the land – at theaters, concerts, army bases, nightclubs, universities, houses of worship…elementary schools.
Hafiz Ikhlas Ansari, Imam, MCC Academy
Betty Jo "B.J." Birkhahn – Rommelfanger, United Methodist, retired
Rev. Clarence Cranford - Peoples of Glory Church of God in Christ
Rev. David Haley – Pastor, Central United Methodist Church
Rev. Ken Hockenberry, Interim Pastor, Carter - Westminster United Presbyterian Church
Rev. William E. T. Hutchison, Interim Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Charles,
resident of Skokie
Rev. Richard Lanford, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Temple Judea Mizpah
Rev. Daniel Morris, St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church
Rev. Sylvia Pleas, United Methodist, retired
Rabbi Jeffrey Weill, EHNTJC, Skokie
Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Temple Beth Israel
Authored by Rabbi Jeffrey Weill