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Beyond gun violence: NC churches join community for preach-in event
Congregations educated on links to faith
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:40 pm
by Stephanie Carson, N.C. News Service

CHAPEL HILL – Coming on the heels of the millions who participated in the Women's March on Washington and sister events, this weekend will bring another opportunity for civic engagement. Religious and community organizations are holding a preach-in event to educate people of faith on gun control and how it is supported by the teachings of their religion.

The Reverend Richard Edens is one of the pastors at the United Church of Chapel Hill, the host site of Beyond Gun Violence Conference.

“Putting your faith in a gun, it’s a false promise of security,” he said. “What we have is a Second Commandment challenge, more than a Second Amendment challenge.”

The most recent Gallup poll lists personal safety as the top reason Americans own guns, but according to the CDC, having a gun in the home makes it 22 times more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide or accident. This weekend's conference takes place on Saturday and is free to those who register.

The conference is sponsored by several churches, the NC Justice Center, NC MomsRising, the League of Women Voters and others.

Aleta Payne, the deputy executive director of the NC Council of Churches – one of the organizations behind the event - says the collaboration between such a diverse number of groups is worth noting.

“One of the things that makes this event significant and unique is it is such a cross-pollination of faith-based and secular organizations working together in a really important and powerful way,” she said.

Edens says the priority that most faiths place on human life underscores the importance of common-sense gun reform.

“It’s time to pay attention if you care about your neighbor,” Edens added. “I think people of faith have a particular role to play. Whatever the faith, almost all agree that life is precious, that each of us is made in the image of God.”

According to the Center for American Progress, North Carolina ranks 15th in the country when it comes to gun-related crimes.


According to published reports President Donald Trump's National Diversity Coalition, led by white attorney Michael Cohen and Pastor Darrell Scott hosted the Amer-I-Can Inauguration Party at the offices of a K-Street law firm. 35 people paid $2,500 and approximately another 150 paid $1,000 to attend. Attorney Cohen and Pastor Scott pledged National Diversity Coalition financial support for legendary athlete Jim Brown's Amer-I-Can foundation. The most recent available nonprofit tax form (2014 records) for Amer-I-Can demonstrates expenditures of $271,553, including $138,634 in salaries and $129,332 in expenses. However, Jim Brown and his wife are said to be the only listed employees. Michael Cohen, Trump?s personal lawyer outlined President Trump?s plan to curb violence and empower black communities. According to Cohen, President Trump intends to support mentoring and promote self-determination primarily through Brown?s Amer-I-Can foundation. Cohen also would not say how much money the Trump administration intends to put into the Amer-I-Can foundation, though he promised the nonprofit would see some investment.


In his Twitter profile Scott referred to himself as Dr. Darrell Scott. President Donald Trump has also referred to Scott as ?Dr. Darrell Scott.? In his church bio Scott's says: "Already a 21st Century Theologian and Scholar in his own right, Dr. Darrell went on to receive his Doctorate of Divinity in November of 2004." That is, his bio is worded in a way that creates the impression that he earned the degree. To use the title ?Dr.? is inappropriate and misleading since the degree was not earned. Compounding the problem is the questionable status of the college. St. Thomas Christian University is not accredited by any Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized accrediting body. St. Thomas is currently unlicensed in the state of Florida. Mr. Scott appears to be using his degree from an unaccredited school to create an impression that he earned a doctorate.
Posted on January 25, 2017

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