|Jim Marsh ARCWP and June Chesterfield ARCWP at Demonstration for gun safety outside Schenectady City Hall on Sunday, May 29, 2022|
May 24, 2022
Dear Gov. Abbott:
I listened to your press conference subsequent to the mass shooting that took place yesterday in Uvalde at the Robb Elementary School. You indicated that such a horrific tragedy cannot be tolerated and swift action will be taken - we will do everything necessary to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
This is precisely my point in writing to you. I understand that you will be speaking this Friday in Houston (May 27) at the NRA Annual meeting, along with former President Donald Trump. NRA chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre expressed his enthusiasm by saying: “President Trump delivered on his promises by appointing judges who respect and value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and in doing so helped ensure the freedom of generations of Americans.” How will you reconcile the freedom of Americans with the “slaughter of innocents” in the days ahead?
It has been a very slippery slope from “bearing arms as part of a well-regulated militia” to the unfettered right to own and carry weapons, weapons of mass destruction, as a symbol of American individual liberty. What about the rights of those 19 children and 2 adults?
From the Jewish scriptures, we read “Yahweh, your God, will sensitize your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you will serve God with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will live. This Law that I give you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it beyond your reach. It is not up in the heavens … nor beyond the seas. No, the word of God is … in your heart. I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life so that you may live … a long life in the land which God swore to give you.” [Deuteronomy 30]
I know you are Catholic and I am a Catholic priest who is praying with and for you in these difficult days. Prayer always involves response and action; God waits on us. The African proverb says it so well: “When you pray, move your feet.”
Enough with the platitudes—the time to act is now! It is ten years since Sandy Hook. Ninety percent of Americans and nearly 75% of NRA members support universal background checks, yet we are being held hostage by U.S. Senators, beholden to the NRA, who refuse to vote on HR8 that passed a couple years ago in Congress.
As Chief Executive of Texas, what will you propose to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in another Texas school? What will be your message at the NRA annual meeting?
We are still celebrating Eastertime in our Catholic tradition, and fast approaching the Feast of Pentecost. May we all have the wisdom, courage and fortitude to do what is right!
With prayerful best wishes,
Rev. James T Marsh