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Religious Left All Fired Up to Ban Guns

"Today's religious crusaders for gun control are mostly activist elites whose influence beyond a D.C. press conference is dubious." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Several dozen clergy and other religionists claiming to represent 80 million Americans recently urged gun control legislation and denounced the National Rifle Association at a press conference held at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill.

The coalition urged assault weapons bans, universal background checks on gun buyers, and federalizing gun trafficking crimes at the January 15 event. The group includes the Catholic Health Association, the Islamic Society of North America, the Episcopal Church, the National Council of Churches, United Methodist Women and the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose D.C. lobbyist warned against a "false choice between guns and freedom."

Citing the coalition's "reasonable measures" such as banning assault weapons, the United Methodist Church's chief lobbyist omitted that his denomination favors a complete ban on handgun ownership.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

    "It was appropriate that the anti-gun press conference convened in the United Methodist Building. It was built in the 1920s to sustain another religious utopian dream, which was to create a righteous America through abolishing all alcohol. The religious Prohibitionists then were genuine populists with direct support from millions of churchgoers. Today's religious crusaders for gun control are mostly activist elites whose influence beyond a D.C. press conference is dubious.

    "The predictable hardcore Religious Left groups at the press conference did little to assuage the suspicion that their 'reasonable measures' are but first steps towards their utopian dream of a gun-free America.

    "Typically religious voices of the left are more intensely focused on detailed politics because of their greater faith in perfecting society through politics. Gun control debates since the horrific Newtown murders exemplify this confidence, with the Religious Left certain that gun control is the main answer.

    "A Washington Post account of the anti-gun religious coalitions shrewdly suggested that amid the de-institutionalization of American religion, such groups may no longer speak for large numbers. And the Post accurately noted that most evangelicals especially remain firmly opposed to gun control, with one August poll showing 68 percent of white evangelicals against stricter laws."