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Sep 02, 2015 | C. Andrew Doyle

Bishop Doyle's Statement on Death of Deputy Darren Goforth and Gun Violence

Our prayers are with the family of Deputy Darren Goforth, brutally killed on Friday in a Houston area gas station. His death is another tragedy linked to the epidemic of gun violence, an epidemic that takes 32,514 lives a year in this country. 1


Deputy Goforth’s death requires more response than righteous commentary about the second amendment. His death, the deaths of nine worshipers at the AME Church in Charleston, Trayvon Martin and so many others demand a rational, concerted effort to make universal background checks a requirement for gun ownership. The current system only applies to about 60% of gun sales.2


A terrorist’s threat has us all removing our shoes for the TSA agents; 10 reported victims of listeria in four states forced closure of every Blue Bell ice cream plant; in 1982, seven deaths from potassium cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules changed forever how we package medications. How can the deaths of 2,677 children and 14,8223 more injured annually not demand a similar response?


We are all victims of the unhealthy and uncivil rhetoric in our country these days around a great many topics. It permeates digital media, our politics and the news and it dishonors all lives. Before we ever heard of the Black Lives Matter movement, we promised to “respect the dignity of every human being.”


We are called to make manifest that baptismal promise with prayer and with a thoughtful, rational response to Deputy Goforth’s murder, and the deaths of all victims of gun violence.  Find resources, learn more about Bishops Against Gun Violence and help us seek common ground in efforts to curtail gun violence in our country. See a video and read about actions taken at General Convention here. Read a commentary by Dean Barkley Thompson here.


Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


1According the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

2 Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2010: Statistical Tables (February 2013)

3 Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

4 ibid