Bishop Leonard Fairley issues a statement on the mass shooting in Louisville

April 10, 2023
By Bishop Leonard Fairley
Maybe I should have waited until all the facts were in first. I have not given myself space to think about writing a nice theological episcopal statement around this most recent act of gun violence, this time in Louisville (Heartland District), the episcopal area I serve as Bishop. I write these words while watching the breaking news of five people losing their lives, and at least eight people, including police officers, being taken to the hospital. Even as news of this shooting is still developing, there are reports of yet another shooting, only blocks away from the first.

The news media will fill you in on all the information. However, despite the details, I wonder when we will discover the political, religious and moral courage to do something about these senseless acts of gun violence. When will life become sacred enough in the halls of our government, churches and other accountable institutions for us to put in place whatever laws are necessary to stop these senseless mass shootings? When will our proclamation of the Gospel match our will to move our elected leaders to act now?

How many more times are we going to turn on breaking news and have our hearts ripped out? How many more families will have to be notified of the loss of loved ones? How many more makeshift altars of flowers and pictures of victims must we see? In the name of the risen Christ every life must be seen as sacred. When are we going to acknowledge this truth in the middle of all this senseless gun violence?

It is absolutely mind-blowing and downright inexcusable for this to keep happening in a Christian nation. Christians, we cannot continue to sit back afraid of how others will label us. If life is sacred and Jesus gave His life for us, then it is long overdue for us to use whatever spiritual voices we have to help our political leaders exhibit the will in concrete and specific ways to speak into this evil and sin. “Lord, have mercy!”

I write these words not as a liberal, conservative, Democrat or a Republican but as a heartsick, spirit-weary follower of Jesus Christ. Each time one of these mass shootings takes place we say without hesitation (as we should) “Our prayers go out to the families, first responders and hospital workers.“ What if God has already answered, but we do not have the will to do what is necessary? I grow weary of playing political games with people’s lives. 

As I stated earlier, I write these words with the news of this horrific event still rolling across my television screen. It is still fresh. I will pray, and I invite you to join me, because I believe it is one of the best things we do as Christian people. However, I will also seek answers to those prayers in how I respond in practical and specific ways starting with asking our political and religious leaders to search their hearts and act.