Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, as a way of life

Preventing Mass Shootings and Saving Lives

On behalf of the Rochester Interfaith Network Alive (RINA)—a significant and growing network of Rochester’s Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Sikh faith leaders—I would like to express heartfelt condolences to the families of loved ones who were massacred and maimed in the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our grateful prayers are with first responders, medical personnel—who continue to tend to those who are in various stages of seriousness—and others who showed extraordinary courage amid terror. We have all been impacted by this mass shooting because we have been incrementally impacted by many instances that have been normalized in our daily life as street violence, domestic violence, and suicide.

We are simultaneously outraged by the continuing policies and practices as they relate to violence in our culture and especially by the ways in which specialized instruments of mass shootings are readily available in various parts of civil society. How many local and national vigils, and requiem masses is it going to take before we change our policies on civilian access to massive accumulation of instruments of mass destruction? We feel helpless, as spiritual leaders, only reacting to terrorizing acts by disturbed human beings like we react to flood, earthquake, hurricane or even a terminal disease. We have a problem in our community and we must say, ENOUGH! This is not about meddling with hunting privileges. However, it is about preventing another mass shooting and saving innocent lives.

We call upon faith communities to focus on this aspect of our common life by customizing and engaging resources in our gatherings to talk with each other in peaceful and non-polarizing ways, to study violence no more and to practice paths that embrace peacemaking instead. Please look for these resources through your judicatory offices and our RINA Facebook page. Let us act and pray for peace in this great land.

I also urge you to act specifically now. Please contact your Legislators: Call, Fax, email your US Representative today and tell them these two things:

Vote no on H.R. 3668, which includes the SHARE Act that would gut long-standing regulations on silencers and loosen restrictions on armor piercing bullets.
Ban all military style firearms: assault weapons and large capacity magazines, which have no place in the hands of private citizens.

All the world religions ask us to live in peace, to be of good courage, to render to no one evil for evil, to strengthen the fainthearted, to support the weak, to help all the afflicted, to honor all people, and to love and serve one another in God.

May the Blessing of the Holy One, whom we call by many names, be with you!

Bishop Prince G. Singh