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Washington, DC, January 20, 2013

Dean of Washington National Cathedral Continues Push to End Gun Violence, Uses Sunday Sermon to Speak on the Need to Move from Preaching to Organizing

Cathedral Dean Discusses Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the nation celebrates his legacy


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Washington D.C. — In his Sunday morning sermon this week, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, renewed his call for our nation to confront gun violence through both public policy and broader conversation. Today’s sermon was met with a standing ovation from the congregation. Working in partnership with the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington, Hall has been an outspoken advocate for quick action since the tragic shooting last month in Newtown, Conn.

Hall’s sermon comes the day before the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day and inaugurates President Barack Obama for his second term. Speaking from the Cathedral’s historic Canterbury Pulpit where Dr. King delivered his final sermon, Hall said:

“In the spirit of Dr. King, I want to say that opposing gun violence may have political implications, but it is not primarily a political issue. It is a religious issue, a theological issue. Human beings are precious, unique, unrepeatable icons of God… Right now, one of the chief oppressive threats to human dignity in our world is the obscene proliferation of guns in America. If we want to stand with Jesus and with Martin Luther King, we’ve also got to stand with those who, like them, die by means of violence.”

This is the second time in recent weeks that Hall has delivered a sermon about gun violence, but he made clear this time that he and the Cathedral have come to the end of the “preaching part,” and are now turning their attention toward organizing in support of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, supporting universal background checks, and supporting stiffer criminal penalties for those engaged in gun trafficking. Hall said the Cathedral will join with interfaith partners to shape a strategy by which they can together bring pressure to bear on legislators across the country to support these goals. Hall will take part in the March on Washington for Gun Control on Saturday, January 26.

On the important role in curbing gun violence that he believes the Cathedral community will play, Hall said:

“We are a visible faith community in a symbolic building. We have a unique role in American religious life. We represent what is best in American civic life—we stand at the intersection of faithful and civic values. It is vital that we use our visibility and our symbolic role to keep the need for gun control squarely in the public eye… We can make Washington National Cathedral a visible focus of our shared commitment and so help end our national tragic scourge of gun violence.”

The complete text of Hall’s sermon can be found here »

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral