Faith Digest: New gun control coalition

Clergy from across the country who support the launch of the African-American Church Gun Control Coalition stand together at Nineteenth Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Washington. (RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks)


Black ministers resist gun violence. Black clergy launched a new coalition to fight gun violence, saying they are undeterred by the recent failure of legislation on Capitol Hill and all too aware of the problem of gun violence. At meetings in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, supporters of the African-American Church Gun Control Coalition called gun violence “both a sin and a public health crisis” and committed to a three-year action plan of advocacy, education and legislative responses. Carroll Baltimore, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, convened the coalition.

The group includes representatives from the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Church of God in Christ, African Methodist Episcopal Church and Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Gun violence is the leading cause of death of black males ages 15-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Children’s Defense Fund reported that in 2009, black male teens were eight times more likely to die from gun violence than white teenage males. The clergy blasted the Senate for defeating legislation to expand background checks and ban assault weapons, but they vowed to continue to work for stronger legislation and safer neighborhoods.

Former ecumenical leader Edgar dead at 69. Bob Edgar, a Democratic congressman and United Methodist minister who went on to lead the National Council of Churches through a painful series of restructuring cuts, died suddenly April 23 at age 69. bob edgarBob EdgarHe suffered a heart attack and had been exercising on a treadmill in his home in Burke, Va., said Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for Common Cause. Edgar became president of the Washington-based nonpartisan advocacy group in 2007 after serving two terms as the general secretary of the NCC. Edgar, author of the 2007 book Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right, was known for activities ranging from protesting the Iraq war to a coordinated arrest inside the U.S. Capitol in 2011 for praying to stop Republican budget cuts.

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