Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble, Episcopal Bishop Alan Scarfe, and nine other religious and community leaders joined in a March and Interfaith Prayer Service to Prevent Gun Violence on Monday, March 25, 2013.
Beginning at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, the assembled group of more than 50 marchers made its way through downtown, over the Locust Avenue bridge, and on to the West Capitol Terrace and stone map of Iowa. The interfaith prayer service reflected on America’s gun violence epidemic and called on lawmakers, including Senator Church Grassley and Senator Tom Harkin “to act immediately.” Event organizers said that “this show of unity demonstrated to Congressional leaders that the overwhelming majority of Americans, including the faith community, strongly urge them to make common sense decisions regarding gun violence prevention laws.”
In his remarks Bishop Trimble said, “I know what it is to live in a community where violence is not unusual. I know what it is to visit families who have been victims of gun violence. I know what it is to go to the juvenile detention home and to County Jail and visit young man who have been caught up in accidental gun shootings or who have been a part of gun shootings that have resulted in violence and loss of life.”
“Jesus challenge his disciples as recorded and Matthew to be peacemakers - blessed are the peacemakers, those who seek a peaceful way to live. In a country with 300 million plus firearms it is even harder to find Christian pacifists – persons who unapologetically call themselves pacifist. It is difficult to find enough people who are unapologetically opposed to the proliferation of guns and the idolatrous extraneous interpretations of the second amendment,” the Bishop went on.
“We live in a country where today there are food deserts in urban and rural neighborhoods, meaning that some people live in communities where they don’t have a grocery store where they can get food. Some have to travel great distances. And yet, in this country that we have easy access to guns in almost every neighborhood, community and town in America.”
“As people of faith, we must declare our faith in a weapons-free community. Licensing and registration, background checks, and a ban on the sale of all assault weapons, in some circles, are being touted as radical and restrictive. We must be willing to unapologetically speak out and say ‘Enough is enough!’”
“Acts of horrendous violence should never become an acceptable occurrence in any community. The National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers should not hold our elected officials hostage two in action when the vast majority of Americans are calling for a ‘more excellent way forward.’”
“May God, who is love, magnify our voices for the sake of commonsense solutions and gun violence,” Bishop Trimble concluded.
Participants, in addition to Bishop Trimble and Bishop Scarfe, included Rev. Cheryl Thomas-One Million Moms for Gun Safety-Iowa, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, Jagtar Sing-past president, Sikh Temple of Iowa, Barbara Hirsh-Giller, president, Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, Hamed Baig-president, Islamic Center of Des Moines, Pat Peterson-member, First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Ken Bresnan-Parish Liaison, Catholic Charities, and Connie Ryan Terrell-executive director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa.
Persons present for the Interfaith Prayer Service laid white carnations at the foot of wreaths to remember each Iowa gun violence victim who had died since the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.
The march was sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, Moms Demand Action for Gun sense in America-Iowa, American Baptist Mission Societies, and Iowans for gun safety.