Expressing the sorrow of many Christians in the US at yesterday's killings in Virginia, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC USA) has also renewed the NCC's call for 'meaningful' legislation to prevent gun violence.
"My pastor's heart breaks for the families of those who died today," said the Rev Dr Bob Edgar following the fatal shooting at Virginia Tech University.
"Faith leaders have spoken up continually about the epidemic of gun violence in our country," Dr Edgar said in a statement. "Despite repeated calls from faith and community leaders to Congress and presidents nothing ever seems to get done to stem the tide."
Dr Edgar, himself a former Member of Congress, lamented that the issue of gun violence seems to get such little attention from those who have the power to do something about it.
"How many more will have to die before we say enough is enough? How many more senseless deaths will have to be counted before we enact meaningful firearms control in this country? How many more of our pastors, rabbis and imams will have to preside over caskets of innocent victims of gun violence because a nation refused to stop the proliferation of these small weapons of mass destruction?," said Dr Edgar.
Edgar pointed to the NCC USA's 1967 policy calling for firearms control and a March 2000 interfaith campaign calling for an end to the epidemic of gun violence in the nation.
"The escalation of gun violence compels us to call for an end to the manufacture and easy distribution of such instruments of destruction," Edgar said in 2000 and reiterated that statement today.
Edgar invited people of faith and goodwill to send messages of support to a weblog set up by the Virginia Interfaith Center.
The NCC USA is an ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.