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Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Call to Action by Religious Groups to End Gun Violence

Harry Belefonte is respected for his eloquence in music and when speaking on behalf of humanitarian issues.  He raised especially important social commentary at an awards event in Los Angeles CA, on February 1st, when he received the Spingarn Award, which honors outstanding achievement by an African Americans from the NAACP.

Rather than give a laudatory and predictable acceptance speech, Belefonte took the occasion to give an opinion about guns.

Belefonte (born March 1, 1927) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist

Belafonte, widely respected for his humanitarian activism, used the awards platform to raise awareness about why the church (he used the noun generically) takes no position on gun control.

“The group most devastated by America’s obsession with the gun is African-Americans. Although making comparisons can be dangerous, there are times when they must be noted. America has the largest prison population in the world. Of the over 2 million men, women and children who make up the incarcerated, the overwhelming majority is Black. They are the most unemployed, the most caught in the unjust systems of justice, and in the gun game, we are the most hunted. The river of blood that washes the streets of our nation flows mostly from the bodies of our Black children. Yet as the great debate emerges on the question of the gun, White America discusses the constitutional issue of ownership, while no one speaks of the consequences of our racial carnage. The question is ‘where is the raised voice of Black America? Why are we mute? Where are our leaders, our legislators? Where is the Church?”

Bravo Mr. Belefonte!

In fact, religious Right to Life enthusiasts should be more inclusive in their advocacy for the rights of unborn babies by including calling for the elimination of gun violence. As dedicated supporters of life, the group says nothing about the people who take the lives of the innocent because of gun violence.

Historically, wars are rarely vilified by religious groups. Truth be told, the root of many wars starts with religious conflict.

Nevertheless, religious groups who forces with Right to Life, for the purpose of preventing the deaths of unborn children, should step up their moral campaign to include protecting the early and preventable deaths of children who are victims of gun violence.

Right to Life groups abhor abortion as an assault on the unborn.  Likewise, gun violence is  an assault on innocent American children.  Children should not be raised in fear of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time because of unbridled support for Second Amendment rights.

Americans who support common sense restraints on Second Amendment rights should demand a Call to Action against gun violence by all churches, including Right to Life.  

Harry Belefonte deserves even more awards for his position against gun violence.

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