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Our culture, our courts and millions of Americans have made a god of the gun

The utter silence of the religious community to anything beyond comforting the grieving families is shocking.

A vigil on Dec. 3 honors those killed and wounded in the  shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan.
A vigil on Dec. 3 honors those killed and wounded in the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The latest mass shooting by a 15-year-old boy in Oxford, Michigan, is a sign of the unceasing victory of gun violence in our society. What shocks me almost as much is the utter silence of the religious community to anything beyond comforting the grieving families.

The very first commandment in the Hebraic and Christian faiths is “You shall have no other gods before me.” Clearly our culture, our courts, and millions of Americans have made a god of the gun. As Martin Luther wrote 500 years ago, “Whatever your heart clings to is a god to you.”

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When will we religious folk denounce this idolatry and counter our country’s fascination with a shiny, destructive power tool? When will we at least put controls on this deadly instrument, as we do the cars we drive? When will our faith in God challenge this absurd faith in the gun? Scripture says we cannot serve God and Mammon (wealth); it is just as true that we cannot serve God and the Gun.

Rev. Martin Deppe, Edgewater

Put people over politics in ward remap

The statutory deadline to pass a new ward map has passed. It’s clear that the “Chicago Way” of considering wards to be fiefdoms that belong to incumbent City Council members is not only unjust but unworkable.

There is a better way. A just, sensible way.

The Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission, made up of residents reflecting the diversity of our city, has drawn a map based on input from over 500 individuals and organizations whose only interest is empowering communities to select and influence their representatives. The People’s Map was not drawn secretly in the back rooms of City Hall, but in the open, in Zoom meetings anyone could attend. The commissioners discussed where to draw the boundaries and how to balance sometimes divergent visions of what each ward should encompass. The process was open and transparent, and followed one of the most basic principles of good redistricting — to not favor or disfavor any individual or political party.

IVI-IPO calls on City Council to abandon its quest to gerrymander wards to satisfy the political goals of incumbent alderpeople, and to adopt The People’s Map to satisfy the goals of Chicagoans for compact, contiguous wards that do not needlessly split neighborhoods.

Josef Michael Carr Jr., state chair, Independent Voters of Illinois — Independent Precinct Organization