WASHINGTON – Following the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, California, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“It’s time for a moratorium on thoughts and prayers. From everyone.
“I am a person of faith. I have spent my entire adult life as a member of the clergy. I have an intensely personal relationship with the God in whom I believe. I pray every day. And here is what I know: praying after the fact for something preventable is an affront to God and humanity.
“The perpetrators of the tragedy in San Bernardino and Savannah yesterday have one thing in common with other such tragedies for which ‘thoughts and prayers’ have been offered, including by me. It is not any of these things: religion, race, ethnicity, zip code, economic status, party affiliation, mental health, age, wealth, educational opportunity, employment, or knowledge of the Constitution. The one thing?
“It is guns. Guns, guns, guns.
“All sorts of Americans are proclaiming that we have to stop pretending there is no problem with a particular community or a particular health care issue or a particular ideology. Ladies and gentlemen, stop pretending there is no problem with guns. Guns, guns, guns.
“My tradition teaches that prayer without action is just noise. Not a one of the faith communities in this country believes that prayer is magic – some sort of incantation that will reverse the order of the universe, let alone manipulate an omnipotent God. Prayer works only if it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through Scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for self-justification.
“A few months ago, on the holiest day of my Jewish tradition, I was among people of all ages to spend the entire day in thoughts and prayers. But before we uttered a single word, we were admonished by the words of rabbis who taught two millennia ago: a person who says, ‘I will sin and then repent, I will sin and then repent has no power to repent.’
“The problem is guns. Guns, guns, guns.
“And the answer not thoughts and prayers. From anyone.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.