United Methodist Women Statement

United Methodist Women Affirms March for Our Lives

United Methodist Women Affirms March for Our Lives
Rally to prevent gun violence in Annapolis, Md.

Today, youth across the country march against gun violence. Mary Stoneman Douglas High School students are bravely speaking out even in the midst of deep personal tragedy. They join a powerful chorus of voices. Many young leaders from impacted communities, especially young leaders of color, have long advocated for gun reform, speaking up even when it seemed like no one was listening. From Parkland, Florida, to Chicago, Illinois, from Oakland, California, to Newtown, Connecticut, courageous youth are coming together. United Methodist Women recognizes and affirms the leadership of these prophetic young people.

More than seven American children and youth are killed by guns on an average day. The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church (Resolution Nr. 3428, "Our Call to End Gun Violence") calls for congregations “to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.” Gun policy is fraught with a plethora of opinions within our country, church and organization.

No single policy will fix the epidemic of gun violence, but we can do better than this. Banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to the general public is a much-needed reform, supported by two of three American voters.  While such a ban would not save the lives of most gun victims, who are killed by smaller handguns, it limits the possibility of large-scale attacks like those in Parkland, Newtown, Las Vegas and San Bernadino. Expanded background checks on gun sales is another strong, evidence-based reform proposal, supported by 88 percent of voters. Resolution #3428 recommends both measures.

Militarizing our schools is not the solution. Neither arming teachers nor increasing the presence of school resource officers will protect America’s children and youth. In fact, such reactionary strategies would exacerbate existing problems. Hyperpolicing our schools results in the criminalization of ordinary, nonviolent teen misbehavior. Research suggests that increasing the presence of school resource officers will further fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. Arming teachers introduces new risks of accidental gunfire and/or avoidable, lethal escalations, making both students and staff less safe.

Holy Week begins tomorrow. As youth march today, we are reminded that Palm Sunday, too, is the tale of two competing marches: Pontius Pilate leads an army of soldiers, while Jesus leads a ragtag band of believers, both converging on the same holy city. Whose march will carry the day? As the week progresses, the Cross looms before us, ever-nearer. By Friday, it seems that the winners and losers are clear, that Pilate’s army has had the last word, that Jesus really is dead. The world is torn asunder. But, as United Methodist Women, we know to look ahead: Sunday morning tells a whole different story. Resurrection is on its way. And a “child shall lead them,” still.


Posted or updated: 3/24/2018 12:00:00 AM

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.

-Isaiah 11:6

United Methodist Women Communications

Yvette Moore
Director of Communications
phone: (212) 870-3822