Westlake church reacts to gun violence
The Uvalde, Texas, school shooting on May 24 has prompted the members of a Westlake church to create a visual showing their support for legislation to curb the increasing gun violence in the United States.
The display on the front lawn of Dover Congregational United Church of Christ has 21 chairs representing the 19 students and two teachers killed in the attack.
“Our members have been anxious about gun regulation, not control,” said the church’s Minister of Justice, John Rinehart. “I’m a gun owner. A lot of people are gun owners. So it's a matter of control and the wise use of guns that we're concerned about. We have seen too many deaths that are unwise. The anxiety has been high. The anger has been high. And on this particular day, with 19 children and two teachers killed, it was a load to bear.”
Dover UCC chose to stage the display after a congregation member saw something similar in a different city.
“One of our members had seen another church in another town do this,” Rinehart said, “and we decided it was the proper thing to do here. We had to make some visual comment to Westlake, and to ourselves about how important this is. We hold life after birth to be a sacred, sacred thing.”
Rinehart stressed the importance of increasing the regulation on firearm ownership.
“There needs to be some kind of regulation so that we don't go on killing each other inadvertently. President Biden's opinion has always been ‘let’s see if we can get together across the aisle.’ But last night [June 2], he said ‘enough is enough.’ He actually laid out programs or ideas that we should follow. I think we need to have these things happen. We need to take care of each other.”
The congregation has sent a letter to Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman demanding that the United States Senate take prompt action to promote public safety and tranquility, which are threatened by the growing use of guns as weapons.