Dear President Obama, my prayers are with you as I write this letter today, anticipating your State of the Union address.
Sir, you recently tweeted: “If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.” Your appeal seemed to be directed at gun control. Yet, the one life chord is vibrating on a frequency that embraces not just victims of gun violence, but even reaching the innocent lives in the womb.
Many people often try to marginalize the sanctity of life voice. Yet, I would appeal to you to consider that death by forceps or bullets is death all the same:
“'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' They said, 'What is that to us? See to it yourself.'” – Matthew 27:4 ESV
Sir, we are trying to “see to it,” to see an end to senseless violence in every corridor.
Dear President Obama, in the Bible there have been great kings and rulers. Some served God, some did not. In many cases some of these rulers came to know and serve God because of prayerful people within their courts and cabinets. I’m sure you have such voices around you.
In your recent gun control speech you spoke of Zaevion, a high school student, and his heroism as he dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. And he was shot in the head. And the girls were spared. He gave his life to save theirs. You also rightly quoted John 15:16, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” To lay down one’s life for a friend takes an extremely selfless act, something we don’t hear about too often.
You said, “Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns — 30,000. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life.”
Violence is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the use of physical force so to harm someone, to damage property, etc.”
Violence can take many forms. Gun violence is one of those forms. Knife violence is another. Fist violence another; and word violence too. Bomb violence is another. And abortion violence is yet another.
As you spoke and began to tear up, I could see the compassion you have for those who are senselessly killed by guns. I believe that many Americans feel the same way you do, not only for gun violence but for any type of violence. Americans mourned the lives lost to the Boston bombers. We mourned those killed at the twin towers on 9/11.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2013 there were a total of 41,149 deaths by suicide of which 21,175 were by guns. That means that 19,974 suicides occurred by other means such as suffocation, poisoning, etc. Additionally, in 2011 there were 836,000 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries. Although not broken down by types of injuries, I would venture to say that many of them were not due to gun shots.
Although we do need certain legislation regarding gun sales and safety the focus needs to be more on violence control and not excessive gun control.
Violence is due to hatred, or malice people may have towards others for whatever reason. It could be due to skin color, someone having something that someone else has or someone not believing what we believe. Whatever the reason, the solution is the same: LOVE.
We must change the dialogue from “we’re against something” to “we’re for something.” In this case, we must be for love – love of our fellow human being, love of life, love of self!
The Bible advises and teaches us that we should never rail against rulers and leaders in authority; rather we are to pray for our leaders, which I do. There are many words you have spoken over the years of your presidency; some which ring with compassion.
As you may know, I am a pro-life activist. I am concerned about all human lives. I write to you today because, like you and so many other Americans, I am concerned about the growing violence in America. But I am also concerned over the millions of lives lost to the violence of abortion.
Mother Teresa once said, “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”
I’m writing today to appeal to your compassion for those lost to violent acts, and I ask you to consider that what our world needs is not just gun control but violence control. We need to turn to LOVE for the answer.
I do not want to politicize the issue of guns or abortion. That’s why I’m inviting you to step out of the political arena, and I invite you to step into the arena of principles and moral values, the arena where we can change the world through LOVE and PEACE!
Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the founder of King for America, Inc., consultant to the Africa Humanitarian Christian Fellowship and Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Priests For Life.