Everytown John Feinblatt
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety (Photo by: Demis Maryannakis/STAR MAX/IPx via AP)
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By Elana Schor, AP

A leading gun control advocacy group has enlisted more than a dozen religious leaders to boost voter turnout this fall in support of candidates who support measures to prevent gun violence.

Everytown for Gun Safety, which expects to spend $60 million on this year’s elections, is forging its interfaith effort amid ongoing concerns about shootings at houses of worship. The group’s partners include representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh backgrounds, several of them well-known progressive activists.

Among those joining Everytown’s initiative, details of which were shared with The Associated Press ahead of its official announcement, are evangelical Shane Claiborne, president of the group Red Letter Christians, and Rev. Traci Blackmon, a United Church of Christ executive minister and a central member of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rev. Rob Schenck
Rev. Rob Schenck (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Another is Rev. Rob Schenck, a former evangelical anti-abortion activist who has since shifted to support the Roe v. Wade decision and sought to redefine a “pro-life” agenda as one that supports gun control.

Schenck described gun violence as a “life or death issue, which makes it a supreme moral consideration.”

“Churches, especially white evangelical churches, have largely ignored this question — I think, much to their own detriment and to the detriment of the people they’re called to serve,” said Schenck, president of the Washington-based nonprofit Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute.

In addition to reaching out to clergy on gun policy issues, Schenck said, the Everytown interfaith project would aim to educate rank-and-file faith voters about candidates’ stances on gun matters.

“You never want to pray for something you’re unwilling to be the answer to,” he added. “So if we pray for a reduction in gun violence, we have to be ready to act on that prayer.”

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Everytown, co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, counts 6 million supporters and already has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Biden released a proposal last month to boost security at houses of worship.

“The faith community has seen firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence in places of worship and feels more than ever that they have an urgent moral responsibility to stop the scourge of gun violence in America — and they’re doing so by mobilizing their networks around candidates who support broadly popular gun safety measures in 2020,“ Angela Ferrell-Zabala, chief equity, outreach and partnerships officer at Everytown, said in a statement.

President Donald Trump is campaigning for reelection as a proponent of gun rights after previously weighing, then walking back, calls for Congress to strengthen gun laws. Several members of Everytown’s interfaith initiative are known as religious critics of Trump’s record, including Schenck, Blackmon and Michael McBride, a California-based pastor who’s active in helping communities of color during the pandemic.

Whether gun control advocates can make new inroads with voters of faith remains an open question. Michael Hammond, legislative counsel at the Gun Owners of America, recalled then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 comment that some disaffected working-class voters “cling to guns or religion” to help identify a nexus between faith-driven and gun-rights voters.

Hammond said he sees “a social milieu, a series of values that surround the sorts of people who value the Second Amendment. Those values normally include a deep faith, a love of country — generally a conservative social issue outlook.”

Asked about the resonance of gun control with religious voters following attacks at houses of worship, Hammond pointed to the role of an armed churchgoer in acting quickly to end last year’s shooting at a Texas church service. Congregations that “voluntarily disarm themselves have ended up suffering a catastrophe,” Hammond said.

Collectively, partners in Everytown’s project are planning to host at least 50 events designed to engage Americans of faith on gun issues and promote voter registration ahead of November’s elections. The effort is particularly focused on a dozen-plus states that will prove battlegrounds in presidential and congressional contests, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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  1. I am not aware of any studies, but my observations lead me to suspect that there is a positive relationship between firearm ownership and regular church attendance. If that is the case, gun control is going to have a hard time as a pulpit topic.

    There are plenty of armed parishioners at my parish.

    • It depends. Congregations that describe themselves as “socially progressive” will jump on the gun control bandwagon. They will think being a victim will give them moral authority.

      Others will see the light after attacks on churches during services and decide that the good lord helps those who first help themselves by taking proactive measures.

  2. “Churches, especially white evangelical churches, have largely ignored this question”

    Blames white people. Yep, definitely a leftist. He’ll only be preaching to the choir.

  3. Well, I can tell you that my home church sure isn’t part of this and never would be. I’m a co-leader of our security team, which is led and trained by an active S.W.A.T. officer, and our Elder board consists of multiple active LEOs as well. We have umpteen concealed guns on site at any given time, and we all know the Constitution and fully support gun ownership and permitless carry.

    For all these other “churches of faith” that are joining Bloomberg’s anti-2A bandwagon, I guess they have short memories and don’t remember all the church shootings that have happened over the past few years. I can’t speak for them, but I can tell you that my church firmly believes we have a duty to protect those who choose to enter our doors to worship.

    • Question: Does your church permit concealed carry by all congregants without having to first get permission from the pastor/elders?
      If not, are you sure they all value the things you say they do? There seems to as much “only ones” mentality among church guards as there is among police. I just wonder if when the two collide, it gets better or worse.

      • CCWs are unicorns here in L.A. County, but yes, we’ve had this very conversation in our meetings, and yes we allow/support concealed carry by congregants if they’re legally licensed (e.g., I can think of a couple of people who have permits from other nearby counties).

  4. I’m thinking that there is a lot of church goers that have guns,
    Outside of the pastors & priest’s, this might not go over well, this could backfire on

  5. “ Black woman stands outside of her home posing with all the firearms she owns”

    Who do you think will be among the hardest hit by all this? These people are creating all the trouble that everyone has to deal with. The guns she poses with will be takin from her through red flag. Meanwhile she continues voting for Dems. What are the chances of having someone from Anytown living next door that trembles in udder fear at the sight of a neighbor showing off like that? THAT is the power in that picture.

    • I agree that dems have taken a liberal anti-gun stance but there are plenty of RINOs and DINOs in the middle who support the 2nd amendment (to some extent) and those are the (silent) critical group of moderates that are often swayed by gun grabbers with conversations like “sure, hunting is okay but fully-semi-automatic machine gun assault rifles are not okay”. Education is paramount and opening up the conversation is beneficial so they understand the importance of freedom of religion, freedom speech, gun ownership, etc. — ALL constitutional rights. I like seeing the lady posing with guns despite her misguided political preference, the more we drop race from conversations and turn to equality with equal gun rights for all law abiding citizens per the constitution, the better off we will be. Pro gun is pro gun, regardless of religion, race, etc. and a well armed America will keep balance and order unlike a gunless society (plenty of examples for that argument).

  6. The leftist long ago bought off the Catholic church and they have been working on the rest for quite some time.

    • I think many Catholics strongly believe in charity, so they tend to like democrat welfare programs. The recent strong pro-choice push have turned off some previously left leaning Catholics.

      • This raises another issue. With the extreme polarization in current politics, people are pushed to choose between a strong social safety net and the rights of gun owners.

        If this is not addressed, the rights of gun owners will be increasingly marginalized. In order to ensure that gun owner rights continue, and expand, into the future we need to take positions that allow for those who support both.

        In contrast to what we currently see, gun owner rights needs to stop being an exclusive position. An exclusive position says, “if you support X, then you cannot support Y.” To maximize our straight in the future, we must become a big tent. We need to be able to say, you can support gun owners rights and a strong social safety net.

    • Crimson,

      Well….I’d like to add some nuance to that.

      Check out LifeSite News. They report from a conservative Catholic and conservative Christian point of view:

      The Catholic rank-and-file are not aligned with the American Bishops (thank you, Jesus).

      From my time in the clergy, I remember a lot of conversations about funding and charity; never about the US Constitution. I think it would be simple for Bloomberg’s minions to clothe themselves as charitable do-good-ers and sway the American Bishops. That group is constantly looking for sources of funding, not only for good-works, but because they have a massive infrastructure to maintain. That group has also shown disdain for the rule of law; witness the past and present cover-ups regarding sex abuse. My friends who remained in the clergy have stories to tell.

      Back to the parishioners: many own guns and support the 2A. That will not matter to the Bishops. Even the opinions of the local clergy do not matter to the Bishops, after all, there is that vow of obedience the Bishops can play any time they like. I have taken one of my priest-friends out shooting. He loved it and now openly supports the 2A.

      Many rank-and-file Catholics own guns and support the principles upon which this country was founded.
      If the American Bishops fall under Bloomberg’s sway, it may be that the pews will have more open spots and the collection baskets will become lighter. Catholics have been voting with their feet for decades, now.

      • +1

        The majority of Catholics in the Post-Vatican II period haven’t got a clue what the church actually teaches ( i.e, just war theory, capital punishment, the right to self defense), it has been hidden behind the happy, fuzzy bunny burlap banners for the last 50+ years and aided by a rampant apostasy in the clergy and hierarchy.

        No one can call themselves a Catholic or any other type of Christian and vote Democrat.

        • Overshoe,

          You know what you are talking about. Would like to add one word to your statement:

          “No one can call themselves a[n informed] Catholic or any other type of Christian and vote Democrat.

    • The president of DePaul Univ refused to condemn abortion. It’s a Catholic school. Isn’t it YOUR JOB to be against abortion?
      In Oct. 2016 he refused to allow students to have a poster saying “Unborn Lives Matter”. He said he refused to allow some students to be subjected to bigotry and be wounded by those words”.
      Hey, it’s Chicago. Even the nuns vote for pro abortion candidates. They get $$ hand-outs, too. No one care.

      • Victoria,

        You are nailing it!!

        Do you recall the emails from John Podesta (published through Wiki-leaks) in which he talks about infiltrating the Catholic church to change its customs and culture? Those were not whimsical musings; that plan had been in progress for decades.

        • I seem to recall those leaked emails also making fun of Catholics and mentioning the needy Latinos. They just see them as potential voters.

  7. The gun itself is amoral, it’s merely a tool, an object that can be used for good or for evil. More important is the morality of the person wielding the gun, and that is too often the missing consideration in the gun control argument.
    Christianity supports personal freedom, even though many self appointed Christian leaders often do not.

    • You are correct. It’s not Gun Violence, it’s Defective Citizen Violence. And, largely, those Defective Citizens are the citizens the churches have failed to reach. If one is a true church goer, they will very rarely be a Defective Citizen causing “gun violence.” Take your child hunting….and to church….and the police will not have to hunt your child. But, sadly, Progressiveness has infiltrated many denominations. There were many mis-directed parishioners and religious leaders in the churches of Jesus’ day. As always, it is good versus evil. All will get religion one day. It is just a matter whether they get it before it is too late. It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgement. That’s why I carry, Evil, Violence, and Mayhem exist in this world.

    • Forrest,

      I don’t know…I picture Jesus fancying a Remington 870 pump-action tactical shot gun. He did have to deal with a lot of crowds.

      But maybe you are correct; either would be fine when clearing temples of scoundrels and money-changers.

      • Galil in hand with an Uzi slung over the shoulder and a Jericho 941 on his side. Israeli firearms would be most appropriate. The man was king of the Jews after all.

  8. Unfortunately, the United Methodist Church will be in on this, as many (if not all) of our General Boards and agencies are headed up by Progressives. I am both a pastor and concealed carrier and carry on Sunday as well as several of the members in two of my congregations. We have one member who has been threatened with physical violence by a former employee and I’ve had conversation with her husband concerning safety.

    Lord willing, I hope and pray never to have to use the tool for protection, but I am committed to protecting my family and my flock!

  9. Churches have their share of pacifists so this appeals to some parishioners. Many churches have armed security too so gun bans won’t play well everyehere.

  10. Gun Controllers have to claim that they own the moral high ground in the gun debate. It’s not all that surprising that they’d strategically (rather cynically, given that progressives tend to have a problem with God stuff) partner with “religious groups”. Bloomberg’s money can be very persuasive. Or, as James Carville famously opined . . . “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find. . .”.

    The obvious way to counter gun controller ideology is to attack their moral imperative. The fundamental stance of People Of The Gun should always totally reject gun controller advocacy of “reasonable” or “commonsense” gun control—to attempt to deal with gun-controllers always legitimates their moral position and denigrates legitimate gun rights. The bottom line for POTG is to put the strength of our arguments firmly within the original intent of the 2nd Amendment. It means exactly what it says about the right to keep and bear arms: all—and I man all—attempts at gun-control are in violation of the 2nd Amendment.

  11. whatever the statutes passed the house of worship violence will continue.
    and progressives push to remove the faithful from policy discussions. why should they shoot themselves in the foot? filthy lucre, sure.
    go armed to your place. i’m confident it will have a net positive result.
    the front door at mine is separated from the front desk by a buzzer. and that gentleman seated there is prepared. perhaps against policy, and god bless those.

  12. So this guy Schenk has shifted his “pro-life” activism from being anti-abortion to gun control.That tells you something right there. These guys just need a cause, doesn’t matter what it is, just something that they can get paid to squawk about how to run other people’s lives.

    They couldn’t possibly figure out a way to make a living doing something productive.

  13. The person who wants to kill you is more righteous than you. Yes, religious as all get out…

  14. Christians and Jews who wish to counteract this anti-gun silliness would do well to read my book, “A Time To Kill: The Bible and Self-Defense”. I’m Christian/gun nut/lawyer who taught Bible for 40 years and spent 7 years researching and writing the book. For the last 11 years, I’ve trained church security teams here in Alabama in legal use of force to defend their congregations. The book is available on Amazon.

  15. As an ordained minister in a mainline church, the mainlines have sold out the Marxists without even thinking that they are making victims out of their communities to convicts and eventually to the Marxist government known as Democrats and their pipe dream of a NWO. They are from a different planet locked it a delusional reality without evidence.

  16. So, after the groups were identified who cares. Nothing new, they were always anti-gun. There are a number of religions and even sects of religions that are and have always been peaceniks that would pray to a cow in public, but, enjoy an Angus burger in private. Then there are blacks that thrive on controlling ignorant struggling blacks that call themselves Black Lives Matters. Rev. Jackson, Rev Wright, Rev Sharpton, Congressman Lewis and Congressman Clyburn, the late Congressman Cummings and the rest of the black Caucasian Caucus.
    As far as Jews are concerned, although there are some real lefties out there, you should know that the Jewish population in America is the largest armed group of Americans. Bet you didn’t know that. Something about fascism they don’t ever want to experience ever again and their love for the Bill of Rights.
    So, don’t get excited when the use of religions is used in the pro anti-gun community. In the left the only religion is the hate they have for you and I.

  17. Gun control movement continues to look more and more like the prohibition movement of the 1900’s

  18. My wife is the religious one. Back in the 1970s, the pastor of the church she attended preached in favor of the 55 mph national speed limit and gun control. She soon found another church that stuck to religion and kept out of social policy and politics.

    We moved to rural Arizona last fall and she has found a church she likes. After the Texas shooting that was interrupted by armed church security, her pastor announced, without going into details, that worshipers were not unprotected.

    • Schenck

      is literally in league with satan. Saw a show on his “conversion” to hating the 2A. And now he’s literally an apostate. So much for eternal security(see:Hebrews and Pauline epistles).

  19. No surprise – allow churches to push political advocacy while retaining their tax-exempt status, and they’ll be used as tax-exempt political organizations.

  20. Apparently the congregation is unaware of the fact that the Roots of Gun Control are in Racism and Genocide. That said…The congregation needs to ask mini mike bloomberg to justify his racist and nazi based Gun Control Agenda.

  21. A big nothing. The Bloomer might convince the church leaders to get on board, but I doubt this will have much impact on the rank-and-file. I suspect the lines are already drawn, and given that distrust of “leaders” is the order of day, I don’t think they have sufficient influence to shift anyone’s (maybe a few fence sitters, but not many out of the total) opinions to the polar opposite.

    The Bloomer already wasted close to a billion on trying to buy the presidency. I guess he didn’t learn his lesson. Money talks, but it doesn’t always talk very loudly.

    • You hit the nail on the Head .
      he always talks about how he brought new Yorkers through 911 < Baloney .
      I am sick and tired of him , its all about is money !.

  22. In The Law, Bastiat says “each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.” The State is a “substitution of a common force for individual forces” to defend this right.

  23. Judas loyalty was bought with 13 pices of Silver, what amount are these alleged religious persons filling their purse with? Sad they use the 1A Freedom of Religon to denounce and try to destroy the 2A Right to bear arms.

  24. So if Everytown has 6 million members (more than the NRA’s reported 4-5 million), then why do not they have the influence the NRA does?

  25. Hmm, I attend catholic services with my grandkids every sunday at their church, and at my parish church when they are out of town and I carry all the time. But if the catholic hierarchy decides to follow the route of Bloomberg and his bull s—, then with the past family history with the catholic church and my personal history with the priests and nuns, I’ll go my way and they can all go take a flying F— at a loose goose.. And yes I’ve told a catholic bishop what I thought of him when he sided with the packing house management during a strike yrs ago over his catholic parishioners. He should have stayed neutral. But like the old saying goes, MONEY TALKS and Bloomberg has got it

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