Faith leaders across the Christian tradition reacted to the Texas school shooting in a variety of ways, with all of them urging prayer and some of them suggesting specific solutions to America's mass shooting epidemic.
At least 21 people, including 19 children, were shot and killed on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, when an 18-year-old gunman entered the building wearing body armor.
1. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT OF SAMARITAN'S PURSE
"Such a heartbreaking tragedy. 14 students and a teacher were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, today," Graham said. "Many were also injured by the 18-year-old shooter, who is also now deceased and allegedly also killed his own grandmother before entering the school. Join me in praying for these devastated families and their community. May God help, comfort, and sustain them as only He can."
After Graham issued his statement, five more children succumbed to injuries sustained during the shooting.
Chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham said, are deploying to the community.
"As our chaplains minister in this hurting community, please keep those who have lost loved ones in your prayers," he said.
Such a heartbreaking tragedy. 14 students & a teacher were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, TX, today. Many were also injured by the shooter. Join me in praying for these devastated families & their community. May God help & sustain them as only He can.
2. ANTHONY B. BRADLEY, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AND DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN FLOURISHING AT THE KING'S COLLEGE.
"Almost every major school shooter since Columbine suffered from dad-deprivation. It predicts criminal deviance. Sadly, this shooter is a textbook case of a dad-deprived abused & neglected kid. Hurt boys, hurt others," Bradley said. "The shooter's mom was an abusive, neglectful, drug user," Bradley said. "Boys learn empathy from their fathers. Dad-deprivation in boys often develops into violent rage & suicidal ideation. Bad/absent dads are the pre-condition for boy's violence."
Read this article very carefully. Something will be missing. Almost every major school shooter since Columbine suffered from dad-deprivation. It predicts criminal deviance. Sadly, this shooter is a textbook case of a dad-deprived abused & neglected kid. Hurt boys, hurt others.
3. MICHAEL WEAR, SENIOR FELLOW, THE TRINITY FORUM
"I'm not a huge fan of Sen [Chris] Murphy, but I appreciate his leadership on gun control & that his messaging falls between the two insane poles on here: 1) There is absolutely nothing we can do 2) We [could] end all shootings forever with this single bill but GOP literally enjoys shootings," Wear said.
"Instead, I'm where Sen. Murphy is...I don't know which shootings we could stop, but what kind of sick political culture endures shooting after shooting and responds with silence?" he asked. "There must be a substantive, legislative response that we then evaluate."
I'm not a huge fan of Sen Murphy, but I appreciate his leadership on gun control & that his messaging falls between the two insane poles on here: 1) There is absolutely nothing we can do 2) We cld end all shootings forever with this single bill but GOP literally enjoys shootings
4. ALBERT MOHLER, PRESIDENT OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
"At least one thing that might have been done is to have prevented that young man from being able to enter that school with weapons," Mohler said on his podcast, The Briefing. "We're likely looking at a situation where over time, it's going to become more and more difficult for people to gain access to schools like that.
… But we also need to recognize that such a reordering of our society behind wall after wall and barrier after barrier of safety and security as necessitated by this kind of attack, the truth is that we have lived for some time in the blessed situation where our communities are more intact – or were more intact – where this kind of attack was far less believable, much less, far less predictable. Something is deeply broken in our society in a way that actually was not true, just a matter of, say, a century ago.
"It's not that murder didn't take place. It is just that crimes on this scale did not take place with this pattern, with this repetition in times past. And here's where Christians come back to say, 'Well, here's something that is certainly true, human nature hasn't changed.' So something has changed. One of the hardest questions for the United States of America at this point is trying to figure out what has changed and what we can do about it."
5. CARDINAL BLASE J. CUPICH, ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO
"Mass shootings have become a daily reality in America today. Two people died and 7 were injured last week during a mass shooting just down the street from Holy Name Cathedral. Last weekend in Chicago, 28 people were shot," he said.
"As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?" Cupich asked.
"The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai," he asserted. "The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them."
6. RICK WARREN, FOUNDING PASTOR OF SADDLEBACK CHURCH
"As a parent who lost one of my children to gun violence, I beg you to pray for the grieving parents of Uvalde," he said. "You'll quickly forget this horror and move on, but they will have to carry this grief the rest of their lives. Don't forget them.
7. JIM DALY, PRESIDENT, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
"Our hearts break at the news of yet another school massacre, which has taken the lives of elementary school children & teachers in Texas," Daly said. "As a citizen, I am sickened & saddened. As a father, I am enraged. Lord, bring comfort to the grieving families."