*The following statement is being released by The National African-American Clergy Network, comprised of prominent national faith leaders and clergy, which includes: Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, (Atlanta, GA); Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie, (Dallas, TX); Dr. Amos C. Brown,(San Francisco, CA); Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.,(Cleveland, OH); Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner,(Tracy’s Landing, MD); Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.,(Oakland, CA); Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III (Dallas, TX ); Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, (Decatur, GA); Rev. Joseph A. Darby, (Charleston, SC); Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr., (Washington, DC); Dr. Cynthia Hale, (Decatur, GA), demanding our Nation’s Congressional Leaders change their tone, rhetoric and acts of ruthless aggression. They are also calling for support of a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines, and support for President Obama in a bi-partisan enactment of stiffer gun legislation and mental health reform:
*Washington, DC — “Our nation and the entire world stood still as news reports revealed a heartbreaking and heinous act…an act which injured two, and claimed the lives of 26 Americans….20 of them babies. This despicable, senseless and unconscionable act of violence brought us together as a nation, but why does it take acts of violence like this in Newtown, Connecticut, and others we have recently witnessed , to bring us together as a nation? Why can we not love, support and respect each other on a daily basis? Why can we not show, on a regular basis, compassion for one another? Why can we not disagree with each other without being evil and mean-spirited? Why can we not show the same acts of kindness toward each other, on a daily basis, that we have shown to each other following countless National tragedies?
“Far too often recently in this country, our National congressional leadership have acted out their disagreements and differences of opinions in an aggressive, mean-spirited and evil manner, totally lacking in civility. Their acts of aggression and disrespect has helped to set a tone and climate in this country which has encouraged and promoted religious conflict, social unrest, and discord. There has been a collapse in our moral fiber. Their actions have helped to cause a division in the nation and has set poor examples for our children and youth.
“Now is the time for faith leaders of all religious persuasions to say enough is enough…to call upon our Congressional leaders to immediately change their tone, rhetoric and modus operandi for the good of our country; to support a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines; and to support President Obama in a bi-partisan enactment of stiffer gun legislation and mental health reform.
“‘We must adjust to changing times and hold to unchanging principles…our government must at the same time, be both competent and compassionate,’ these words were spoken thirty-five years ago by former President Jimmy Carter, during his Presidential Inauguration address on January 20, 1977, quoting his high School teacher, Miss Julia Coleman.
“These words still ring true…we must adjust to changing times, and our government must at the same time, be both competent and compassionate.
“The American people heard President Barack Obama’s positions throughout the long and gruesome Presidential campaign and re-elected him on his clear declarations of standing up for the middle class and the disadvantaged who want to do better financially.
“Our President has been consistent and clear in his leadership and has shown great moral courage. He received a mandate from the American people. But one would not know this based on the actions of some leaders in Congress. Unless the Congress becomes both ‘competent and compassionate,’ begin to work with our President, and refrain from the ruinous rhetoric which emanates from its corridors, this country will not only suffer from a financial collapse but a moral one as well.
“Our nation watches as our children kill each other on a daily basis; we watch as several national leaders with smirks and disrespect, brag about the days left
before we go over a fiscal cliff, and we witness their unwillingness to compromise, despite the devastation their inaction will cause on millions of struggling families in this country; we watched as certain Congressional leaders character assassinated Dr. Susan Rice relentlessly and aggressively in a manner we had never witnessed before…a talented woman who throughout her extraordinary career, has shown moral courage, dignity, honor and dedication to her country; and, we watch as we all again cry for each other during another senseless act of violence.
“We pray for our nation, for the families and friends of those whose lives have been taken away far too soon with one selfish act of aggression in Newtown, Connecticut, and for thousands affected by other unreported acts of violence occurring in our urban cities and communities; we pray for those among us who have no hope, that their faith might persevere and keep them strong until there is a breakthrough in their lives; we pray for our leadership, that they begin to do what is morally right and set a civil and respectful tone even in times of honest disagreement; and, we demand a change for the good of us all.
“After the holidays, we will be requesting meetings with leaders of the House and Senate to demand these, and other changes.
“As our country continues to grieve, we are reminded of the words in Deuteronomy 33:27, ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath us are his everlasting arms.’”
Raymone K. Bain
The Raymone K. Bain Companies, LLC