Faith

Guns and Religion: Diocese Pushes for Sweeping Gun Control Measures

"We work to bring God's peace to the world."

TINLEY PARK, IL - JUNE 16: A customer shops for a handgun at Freddie Bear Sports on June 16, 2014 in Tinley Park, Illinois. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that it is a crime for one person to buy a gun for another while lying to the dealer about who the gun is for. The law had been challenged by retired police officer Bruce Abramski who was charged with making a 'straw purchase' after buying a gun for his uncle, a lawful gun owner, in order to get a police discount at the dealer. When asked on the paperwork if the gun was for him he checked yes. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan voted by wide margins to support stricter gun control in the state, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.

TINLEY PARK, IL - JUNE 16: A customer shops for a handgun at Freddie Bear Sports on June 16, 2014 in Tinley Park, Illinois. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that it is a crime for one person to buy a gun for another while lying to the dealer about who the gun is for. The law had been challenged by retired police officer Bruce Abramski who was charged with making a 'straw purchase' after buying a gun for his uncle, a lawful gun owner, in order to get a police discount at the dealer. When asked on the paperwork if the gun was for him he checked yes. Scott Olson/Getty Images (Getty Images)

The resolution calls for universal background checks on all firearm purchases, banning all sales of semiautomatic weapons, banning the sale of high-impact ammunition, banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

"We ... stand for public policies to ban violence and assault weapons," the resolution said. "Access to guns with rapid fire ability and high capacity magazines are a common, deadly ingredient in ... repeated killings."

The resolution was reported Monday, but was passed at the 180th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan in late October.

Diocese spokesman Rick Schulte declined to comment to the Free Press.

Proponents argued they were carrying out a Christian objective.

"We work to bring God's peace to the world," the Rev. Chris Yaw of St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield, Michigan told the Free Press. "God's kingdom is not of violence; it's of peace."

Some Episcopal were disappointed by the move.

"I think there is a heartfelt desire by all of the church to keep people safe from violence," said the Rev. Steven Kelly 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."

Kelley added that pushing a political agenda over traditional church teaching could drive people away.

"The people in my congregation don't want to hear a social gospel," Kelly said. "They want to hear about grace and forgiveness and salvation, so they can go out and do the right things, rather than have something new foisted upon them every week."

From 2000 to 2013, average Sunday attendance in its roughly 90 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan has declined by 35 percent, from 10,400 to 6,791 and the number of baptized members went down 37 percent, from 29,769 to 18,816.

One last thing…
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