Christian leaders from various denominations and political stances reacted to Wednesday’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by calling for prayer, and debating whether changes to gun laws is now necessary.
Pastor Skye Jethani and Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren were among those insisting that Congress can take steps to tackle future tragedies and prevent gunmen, like Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in total on Wednesday, from maximizing their violence by enacting stricter gun laws.
Jethani even compared the failure to pass such laws to failing to outlaw African-American slavery before the Civil War.
Others, such as Pastor Robert Jeffress, reflected on the problem of violence that is afflicting the heart of America.
Many were united in their plea to God for comfort as the nation seeks to recover from the latest horrific chapter at its schools.
Here are eight notable reactions:
1. Samuel Rodriguez
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was one of many Christian leaders urging citizens to seek refuge in God.
“Today our nation’s attention is on Broward County, Florida and the news of multiple fatalities at Parkland high school. As parents, every time we hear the terrible news of another school shooting, Eva and I are heartbroken and deeply troubled for our country,” he stated.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the parents and family members of those children who have lost their lives.
“Let every American stop what he or she is doing, and call out to God on behalf of all of America’s students, that God would spare our nation of ever again having to mourn such a senseless loss of life at our children’s schools.”
2. Greg Laurie
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship megachurch in Riverside, California, pointed to the growing list of school shootings in America, a number which has been increasing for decades.
“Only three weeks after a fatal school shooting in Kentucky, our hearts are broken once again by news of yet another, this time in Broward County, Florida with multiple lives lost. We mourn with the parents and families who have lost their beloved children, and for the community of Parkland, FL that has just had its world turned violently upside down,” Laurie said.
Echoing in part President Donald Trump’s statements on the issue, Laurie said that students “should never be afraid to step onto their school’s campus, and parents should never have to see images of their children fleeing the scene of a shooting on the news.”
“Let us pray for God’s comfort for all the victims and let us never grow tired of praying that these types of mass shootings will one day soon come to an end in America,” the Harvest pastor said.
3. Skye Jethani
Christian author and ordained pastor Skye Jethani insisted that besides prayer, there needs to be actual reform in America when it comes to gun law policies, if the cycle of violence is ever going to change.
“By now we are all familiar with the script. A terrible shooting captures the country’s attention. Thoughts and prayers are offered. The Left calls for new gun restrictions while the Right says now is not the time for politics,” Jethani said in a Facebook post.
“We have a brief discussion about mental health followed by a few weeks of silence before the whole cycle starts over again.”
He argued that the reason there is inaction in Congress over gun laws is due to economics, and said that the situation is comparable to America’s “addiction to slavery” that preceded the Civil War.
“Many Americans were outraged by it, called for new laws, and gave moral arguments against it, but nothing changed. In fact, advocates of the industry claimed it was protected by the Constitution,” Jethani said about slavery.
“They also knew any restriction to the industry would be economically disastrous to their way of life, so they lobbied the courts and Congress hard to maintain it as a sacred, God-ordained, and unassailable right,” he added.
4. Kay Warren
Kay Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church in California with her husband, Rick, also called for Congress to act on gun laws, but acknowledged that there are Christians who disagree with such a view.
“Please watch. Please listen. Please, Congress, protect our precious children and grandchildren. Please,” Warren tweeted, before linking to and re-tweeting several speeches by politicians, journalists, and fellow Christians who talked about the importance of Congress tackling gun laws.
When one tweeter user by the name of Maureen Oehl Specht, who said she is a member of Saddleback, wrote that she is “very sad” to see Warren “buy unto this gun control rhetoric,” defending the Second Amendment, Warren responded:
“As Rick always says, you don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand. The Body of Christ is made up of people with wildly divergent points of view about everything under the sun. We’re still family.”
The pastor warned that unless America’s “addiction to guns” is tackled, then “it will only end with blood.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post