The Common Good
July 2005

Check Your Gun at the (Church) Door

by Rose Marie Berger, Mark Betz | July 2005

Brazilian churches have taken on that country'

Brazilian churches have taken on that country’s handgun epidemic by organizing their parishes and community centers to host drop-off sites for weapons - no questions asked. "Christian churches have adopted an active and committed position with civil society in the struggle against the weapons industry," says Adriel de Souza Maia, president of Brazil’s National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC) - which includes Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians. When a gun is turned in, it is secured, paperwork is filled out, and a prayer is said: "God, in your grace, transform the world."

CONIC has partnered with the national Voluntary Weapons Collection Campaign to get the 15.5 million guns in civilian hands off the streets and out of homes. "Whoever lets a weapon into their house has first let it enter their soul," said Gabriele Cipriani, deputy secretary of CONIC, according to the World Council of Churches. Brazilian Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer estimates that the churches will collect more than 100,000 weapons. "Turning over a weapon near a church," he said, "can also be a religious act."

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