Episcopal Church in Michigan backs gun control

LANSING (AP) — The Episcopal Church in Michigan recently passed a resolution calling for stricter gun control measures that some members argue violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

A majority of members of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan voted to approve the symbolic resolution calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases, banning all semi-automatic weapon sales and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the Detroit Free Press reported. After an intense debate among Episcopalians, the resolution was passed at the diocese’s 180th annual convention in Lansing.

“We ... stand for public policies to ban violence and assault weapons,” it states. “Access to guns with rapid fire ability and high capacity magazines are a common, deadly ingredient in ... repeated killings.” Some members who opposed the resolution claim it alienates congregants by promoting liberal social issues instead of the Gospel. Liberal members argue their views are in line with Christian teachings.

“We work to bring God’s peace to the world,” said the Rev. Chris Yaw, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield. “God’s kingdom is not of violence; it’s of peace.”

The resolution says the “Episcopal Church supports the U.S. Constitution’s protections of the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.” But it adds that “wholesale murder is made possible because those without proper moral guide have easy access to these assault weapons.”

Some opponents contend the changes the resolution supports would target law-abiding people, rather than criminals.

“I think there is a heartfelt desire by all of the church to keep people safe from violence,” said the Rev. Steven Kelly, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. “However, most of those who intend violence are going to get weapons anyways, no matter what kind of legislation we pass.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan was created in 1836, one year before the state was established. The group includes representatives from southeast Michigan and the Lansing and Jackson areas.


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