The Threat Is Not From Immigrants and Refugees

Article by: Aleta Payne, Deputy Executive Director

The Council has had a busy weekend. Much of the staff was helping with the Beyond Gun Violence Conference at United Church of Chapel Hill, but we also had folks at the Duke Divinity School event on embodying sanctuary. Both had been in the works for some time but occurred, by chance, on the heels of President Trump’s series of executive actions related to immigration and refugees (at least some of which were blocked by a federal judge on Saturday night).

The contrast between the priorities of those who attended the two conferences and the President’s decisions are stark.

As people of faith, our commitment to a peaceful, beloved community inspires our work to reduce gun violence and address the false notion that gun ownership inherently make us safer. We also believe in the call to welcome the immigrant and to care for the vulnerable, including refugees fleeing unimaginable hardship and violence in their countries.

As Americans, we are exponentially more likely to be killed by another American with a gun than by a terrorist. Yet some of the elected officials who appear comfortable with President Trump’s actions have ties to the corporate gun lobby that has short-circuited the most basic and reasonable efforts to prevent tragedies like the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

If politicians genuinely want to keep us safe, they might start by standing up to the gun and ammunition manufacturers who have blocked common-sense legislation for too long. It is easy to marginalize and scapegoat the vulnerable. It takes leadership to stand up to the powerful and moneyed.

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