Posts Tagged ‘Gun Control’
In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle cautions against looking at the tragedy from too distant a perspective. Looking at this from “an aerial view of nonviolence oddly keeps us from solutions,” Fr. Boyle told the National Catholic Reporter.
“In the same way the [Connecticut] governor said, ‘A great evil visited this community today,’ well, actually, armed mental illness visited your community that day. This is what keeps us from addressing actual issues,” said Fr. Boyle, who has worked with gang members in Los Angeles since 1988 through his Homeboy Industries ministry, which is the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the U.S.
“When we take our views lower, we know we need to address guns and we need to address mental illness,” Fr. Boyle said. “The elephant in the room is mental health, which is something I see more and more with the gang population with whom I work.”
Fr. Boyle also told the National Catholic Reporter that the nation’s mental health care system is in desperate need of rehabilitation. According to Fr. Boyle, because of national, state and local government budget cuts made in recent years, today’s health care system is essentially the same as it was in 1850.
Fr. Boyle said mental health facilities have one bed for every 7,000 patients, and as a result the nation’s prisons, skid rows and homeless shelters are filled with the mentally ill.
“The largest mental health facility in the world is the Los Angeles county jail,” Fr. Boyle said. “These are examples that show we are not actually dealing with the real issues.”
On Friday, July 20, after the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor at America magazine, posted the following on Facebook:
“Gun control is a pro-life issue. Pray for the families of the victims in Colorado, and for an end to the taking of life by violence.”
That post sparked a debate on Fr. Martin’s Facebook page that USA Today’s Faith & Reason blog reported on later that day, in a post titled “Would Jesus pack heat? Is gun control a God issue?”
On July 22, Fr. Martin expanded on his views in a post on America magazine’s blog. Fr. Martin stated that he is a religious person, not a political person, and that he believes gun control is a religious issue:
“It is as much of a ‘life issue’ or a ‘pro-life issue,’ as some religious people say, as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I am against), and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy (which I am for). There is a ‘consistent ethic of life’ that views all these issues as linked, because they are.”
Fr. Martin wrote that he prays for the victims, but suggested that “our revulsion over these crimes, and our sympathy for victims, may be more than an invitation to prayer. Such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.”
Fr. Martin said religious people should meditate on “the connection between the more traditional ‘life issues’ and the overdue need for stricter gun control.”