by Aaron Stauffer
Download RFPUSA’s Video on Religion and Gun Violence
August was a month full of social strife and tension: global conflicts seemed to reach an apex, while hope in the possibility for peace was at a new low. At moments like these, it can be difficult to find outlets that guide us through the crises. The tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri turned the public’s gaze toward the weighty conversation of gun violence and racial relations. Yet within these challenges there are voices of hope. Religious traditions can be reservoirs of inspiration. It is in these voices of faith that we hear values that help to bridge the deep divisions of the world.
In late August, Religions for Peace USA brought together two of these inspirational voices to speak against the divisions of our time and instead to claim their commitment to one another against gun violence. The conversation between Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II and Rabbi Rachael Bregman offers a unique insight into the individuality and commonality between Jews and Christians on the issue of gun violence.
By the Numbers
The facts are plain: every day about 32 people are victims of gun violence. The percentage of homicides in the U.S. caused by firearms is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population. As faith leaders, Rev. Nelson and Rabbi Bregman inspire efforts to create more peaceful communities amidst this reality.
The shooting of Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO and the subsequent community response again forcefully pushed to the forefront the extent to which the United States has not substantially dealt with the reality of gun violence and its detriment to our communities. Rabbi Bregman and Rev. Nelson call us to act through values deeply shared and widely held to decry gun violence in America, while practically outlining how we can work to create more peaceful communities.
To preview the highlights of our conversation with Rev. Nelson and Rabbi Bregman, check out the highlights video here. Or click on the video for their full 35-minute conversation.