First the Ugly — Rush Limbaugh comments on children being part of President Obama’s announcement Wednesday. Rush mocked both the parents of the Sandy Hook victims and the children present, saying “I’ve been watching the children-as-human-shields show that is now going on at the White House…Kids cheer and the president starts out reading some letters from the kids. Gotta do what the kids want. Gotta answer all their letters to Santa Claus. Gotta do everything they want. It’s stunning. You look at what’s happening in the country.”
Words alone do not convey Rush’s mocking tone. You have to hear his comments in their entirety for yourself. But I know if you are a Rush fan, or against stopping gun violence, you will think they are normal. I don’t.
The Bad — Former Attorney General Ed Meese joined Congressman Thad Radel of Florida and his fellow Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas, threating to Impeach Obama if any of his Executive Orders announced today violate the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. I am not a legal expert or Constitutional scholar, so please look at this slide show listing the 23 executive initiatives undertaken by President Obama, and let me know this is an over-reach of presidential powers. To me they are bureaucratic in nature, and in fact won’t accomplish much. The real violation of the Constitution will come from the Republicans if they follow up on their unsubstantiated impeachment threats over these 23 orders.
The Good — On Tuesday, January 15, more than 45 clergy and heads of religious groups, from a wide variety of American religions — announced that they’re poised to take action on the gun lobby. They made demands for the politicians to take quick and concrete steps to end gun violence by banning assault weapons, requiring background checks on all gun buyers, and making gun trafficking a federal crime. At the announcement, The Rev. Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, questioned the statement made by the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, after the after Newtown incident, saying that the “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Wallis described LaPierre’s statement as “morally mistaken” and “religiously repugnant,” and went on to say, “The world is not full of good and bad people. That is not what our scriptures teach us, but that each individual is both good and bad. Wallis continued, “When we are bad, or isolated, or angry, or furious, or vengeful, or politically agitated, or confused, or lost or deranged, or unhinged, and we have the ability to get and use weapons only designed to kill large numbers of people, our society is in great danger.”
The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II of the Presbyterian Church (USA) said people of faith must re-frame the debate on gun control and support “those of us who would challenge the false choice between guns and freedom.” He went on to say that more Americans have been killed in domestic gun violence than in foreign wars.”
I ask you all to join with Jim Wallis, J. Herbert Nelson and the other religious leaders to re-frame the gun violence debate. Write your elected representatives; tell them ending gun violence is not a choice between guns and freedom, but rather it is a choice between life and death.