ENGAGE presented a resolution for consideration at the 2024 SPAS Assembly. What follows is the presentation of the resolution followed by the resolution. The purpose of the resolution was “strategic”. I wanted to present a theological rationale for supporting gun violence prevention and thereby soften and open hearts and minds for more substantial decisions to come. Next year we go BIG! The resolution passed by about 99%.

RESOLUTION PRESENTATION: Sisters and brothers in Christ! In 2023, 569 Minnesotans died by gun violence: 407 by suicide, 147 by homicide, 8 by accident and police, and 6 undetermined. States with the fairest and strongest gun laws respecting the right to purchase while committed to public safety have the lowest gun deaths. Similarly, GVP organizations such as Protect Minnesota, Giffords, Brady and Moms Demand Action are dedicated to such ends. ENGAGE: Lutherans for GVP, a Work Group of the SPAS, partners in kind. To the point: laws make a difference. Laws nurture accountability and transparency.

There are over 500 references to laws in Holy Scripture, and there is one Law that is the greatest: LOVE. In Matthew 24 we read: “Teacher, which commandment in the Law is the greatest? Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love there Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

This resolution urges us to consider and support gun safety laws out of love, faith and conscience. I move the passage of this resolution to support public safety gun laws.

RESOLUTION 2024-2: For the SPAS to Support Public Safety Focused Gun Laws

WHEREAS, since we are called to be peacemakers in the nonviolent Spirit of Jesus Christ;

WHEREAS, gun violence and deaths are at record levels in Minnesota;

WHEREAS, states with the strictest gun laws have the fewest deaths;

WHEREAS, in the name of public safety it is possible to balance “the right to bear arms” with the human rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”;

WHEREAS, the ELCA has provided liturgical resources for lament after a violent event (ALL CREATION SINGS, pages 4-66);

BE IT RESOLVED that the SPAS in Assembly call upon individuals of the SPAS to prayerfully consider, examine, endorse and actively support efforts and laws according to one’s faith and conscience.