How Your Church Can Respond to Gun Violence with Tricia Owens and Heather Hilbert from Moms Demand Action
Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.
Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”
To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.
Episode 050 of To Be Encouraged is part one of a two part interview with Tricia Owens and Heather Hilbert from the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Part one is Episode 049.
Heather Hilbert did not grow up in the church. She came to faith as an adult after attending a class in a
local UMC church with a pastor who made sure that no question was off limits. She has served on staff
at St Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis as Director of Children’s Ministries and now works for the INUMC
conference as a Conference Assistant to the Southeast & West districts.
In early 2018, after the mass shooting in a local church in Sutherland Springs, TX and the mass shooting
at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, just a few short months later, Heather moved from a
participant in the gun violence prevention movement to a leadership position within Moms Demand
Action for Gun Sense in America. For the past 5 years, she has served in multiple roles for the Moms
Indiana chapter including Federal Legislative lead, focusing on and advocating for better gun policy in
the United States and particularly here in Indiana.
She spends many days at our Statehouse, giving testimony and meeting with legislators, while building
teams of advocates across the state. She is a gun owner who believes we can honor the 2nd Amendment
rights of Americans while also protecting our communities in better ways. She currently serves as the
Chapter Leader for Indiana and most recently led the first Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day at the
Statehouse since the pandemic began, training and advocating beside Moms volunteers from across the
Her personal faith demands not only her heart but her voice and privilege for others. She is involved in
various projects and social justice causes including gun violence prevention, hunger & housing
insecurity, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Tricia Owens is a mom of two and works as a training systems designer for the federal
government. After her neighbor shot and killed himself in front of her and her husband, Tricia put
her trauma to work and began searching for significant ways to engage in gun violence
prevention. In early 2018, she joined Moms Demand Action, finding purpose in the meaningful
work of advocating for better, safer gun laws.
After joining the organization as a volunteer, Tricia quickly moved into several leadership roles
including Indiana Be SMART for Kids Lead and Indiana Survivor Membership Lead. Tricia
brings her professional excellence in training to her Moms work. She has given BeSMART
presentations to dozens of different community groups, including school administrations, police
departments, PTOs and more. This critical training, a 501c3 arm of Moms Demand Action,
trains adults about the importance of safely and securely storing firearms. Although she’s worn
many hats in the organization, her main passion in this GVP fight is keeping guns out of the
hands of children.
She currently serves on the Indiana state leadership team and is the Hamilton County, Indiana
Local Group Co-Lead where she leads, educates and engages volunteers from across the
county in the life saving work of Moms Demand Action.
https://everystat.org/ (this is all data collected by state/county, an AMAZING resource for conversations).
https://everytownresearch.org/ (More general research about various issues in the movement- ghost guns, red flag laws, background checks, permitless carry etc)
https://momsdemandaction.org/act/ (you can take direct action here and sign up to join Moms)
https://besmartforkids.org/ (Safe storage)
https://momentsthatsurvive.org/ (survivor stories, listeners can add their own stories)
https://onethingyoucando.org/#hero (suicide awareness & how to utilize red flag laws in your state to save someone's life)
Hello good people and welcome to be to the to be encouraged podcast with Bishop Julius C tremble is the podcast where we look to offer an encouraging word to an often discouraged world. And one of the factors that goes on in our world right now, which is really a really terrible thing is really, really disgusting gun violence that goes on in all our communities, particularly here in United States. It's really all around the world. But in our United States, there has been many, many, many, many incidents of mass shootings and gun violence that go on and our guest today that bishop tremble, and I have a guest today are two incredibly devoted women who are a part of an organization called Moms Demand Action. Heather Hilbert is with us and she has worked as a director of children's ministry at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, and is currently a conference assistants in the district offices of our Indiana annual conference. She has with us here today, as well as Tricia Owens, who works for the federal government and as his training systems designer. And they both have incredible stories to tell we'll get into in a minute, but they are both a member of an organization called Moms Demand Action. So bishop would you help welcome our special guest to to be courageous today.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Welcome, Tricia, and welcome, Heather, I counted a joy and a blessing to be able to have this conversation with you. This is not just an exercise in in words, we really do want to while we are alive to make a difference in reducing gun violence. So there's so many families don't have to experience, Trisha, what you've experienced and what 1000s of others have experienced. So we're glad to have this conversation, we pray that those who will be listening to the podcast will will not just devote our thoughts and prayers, but be engaged in direct action to bring about change in our lifetime.Brad Miller:
Which hasn't let's Yeah. Well, Heather, let's just start with you just for a second, this Hera a bit of your story to get some context about why you get involved got involved with an organization like Moms Demand Action, how did it what was the story that led you to this place?Heather Hilbert:
So back in 2012, after Sandy Hook happened, and mom's was developed here, right here in Indiana and Zionsville. At the time, I had to choose first graders and I was pregnant with my third child. And so I engaged in that work one of men out of fear at the time, the children that died at Sandy Hook are the same age as my own children. But I was kind of on the on the fringes of that of that work, just kind of engaging in a way of signing petitions and supporting you know, financially, but not really engaging in the in the work. At the time, I was the children's director at St. Luke's as you mentioned before, and in 2017. When I left that position, I needed to find a good healthy outlet for my passion. And I was invited into leadership with moms, just after the 2018 shooting at Pulse at the nightclub. And how did I end up in leadership? Well, one, I was invited, which is always I always tell people, if you're not sure invite someone into leadership, the worst thing they can say is no. But second that my kids really we were having ongoing conversations as more and more news, and they were absorbing more and more news about what was happening in the country with gun violence. And so I took it as a my job as a mom to really step into that work and show my children and those around us, our family that we don't just give words of service to the work but that we really engage in it. And so not only do I lead with Indiana, but I bring my children along. My husband is engaged in the work and we really see this as a calming for our whole family.Brad Miller:
Thank you for sharing that. Trisha, Trisha Owens, also involved with it with the Moms Demand Action Group. Tell us how, what give us a context here of what what led you to be involved with this group. I know you have a fascinating story.Tricia Owens:
And 2015 on Father's Day, my husband and I were outside in your backyard and our next door neighbor shot and killed himself with a gun in front of us. And that was obviously very impacted us. I had PTSD from it. It was just something that You never get over seeing something like that. So I was never involved in any sort of political issues or any kind of social justice, even though I always watched and, you know, agreed or maybe signed a petition, like Heather mentioned, but I didn't really get involved in anything. And I kept looking for a way to, you know, get involved somehow I'd never heard of Moms Demand Action before until 2018. So I waited three years to really get involved, honestly, when the Parkland shooting happened in Florida, where 17 students were killed. And then I saw there was a call out for a meeting here in Hamilton County in Indiana. So I went and I've immediately joined leadership, like Heather said, you just have to be asked sometimes before even know you'll do something. And I've been out talking to people about locking guns up in their homes, and just haven't stopped since.Brad Miller:
Thank you. Thank you both Heather and Trisha for sharing your stories your bishop have to give us your thoughts at this point?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, I think this is a national health crisis. That is a uniquely American experience. We like to say, well, you know, guns, too, they have guns everywhere and so forth. Well, Australia was a high gun ownership country, they made a difference. New Zealand was a high gun ownership country. They made some difficult decisions and changed things. Of course, you know, many places around the globe, the access to guns is so much different than here. I remember, during the height of COVID. And even I have certain allergies that I sometimes have to get medication for it was it's easier to get a gun in Indiana than it is some to get some medications from Walgreens. So this is a, I brought this up, I'm on the hospital board. And in this in this area, and I brought this up as, as a national health crisis, I saw some of the data around how much money is spent on health care related to violence and to gun violence in particular. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 43,000 Americans die from gun violence every year, more than 116 per deer per day. This is an everywhere every body every day problem. So you know, I live in Hamilton County, you know, it doesn't matter if you live in a rural area you have to do is watch Nightline and other and other TV programs. It doesn't matter where you live. This impacts you not there are some zip codes where people are, are traumatized on a more regular basis. But this is a this is a tremendous national health crisis. 58% of the suicides and 39% of the homicides take place as a result of guns and easy access to guns. And as Trish said also sometimes not properly storage and making guns on accessible. accidental shootings, police shootings, they make a smaller percentage and even though mass shootings, you know, make the news and stay in stay in the headlines. It's these other incidents where there's people taking their own lives every day or children witnessing gun violence in the neighborhoods that don't make the headlines every day, nearly every American will know at least one victim of gun violence. I'm sure these two phenomenal woman who are on the podcast I have a lot more data than I do. But I'm in I'm impacted by this because we made a commitment several years ago bread to make children matter most as a missional initiative for the United Methodist Church in the Indiana conference. And in order for children to really matter most we can't turn our backs hurt or put our heads in the sand as it relates to gun violence is the leading cause of death for children under 18. Gun violence and that's that's embarrassing, embarrassing fact. And if children are the matter most in Indiana we have to get behind organization like Moms Demand Action and other organizations and and speak to our not only our elected officials but raise this as a church and problem a Christian problem for us to demand a different kind of world we our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I pray that we can really transform the world. Brad You and I are grandpa's I'm called Papa I forget what your grandchildren call you,Brad Miller:
John I'm chi pop, G pop.Bishop Julius Trimble:
So I really want to I really want to save for world with this later late this summer. A Korean will be going to kindergarten and you know it's a different kind of kindergarten than when we went To now, so I'm just praying that we can make a difference. thoughts and prayers are not enough for the faith community. So we really have to get engaged and, and changing policy. And I think, breaking through what I call the idolatry of guns. You know, I'm not I'm not opposed to guys, I have police officers and our family and hunters in our family. But we have an unhealthy fetish, if you will, when it comes when it comes to guns in this country.Brad Miller:
Correct? Yeah. We're Trisha and Heather. Bishops lady at UVA, you've shared your incredible personal experiences. A bishop shared some context there. But let's talk about what you two women are about on your organization is called mom demand action. What if any difference are you really making what is the action that you're demanding? Talk to us about what you're demanding.Heather Hilbert:
Anyway, go ahead, Teresa.Tricia Owens:
I think the main thing we're demanding has change. From the way I look at it. We are involved in you know, pushing help to push bills, good gun bills in the legislature here in Indiana, which can sometimes be super difficult, as I'm sure you can imagine. But you know, one of the things that we talk about a lot in moms is how this is a marathon, not a sprint, and just making incremental changes, pushes, you know us farther to our goal. And we go into the community, we have a program called Be smart for kids, where we go out and just talk to people that come up to our table at an event about safe storage. That is something that I particularly like to do. I think that that is super impactful. I don't want a one on one type situation. But I mean, we just really want our kids to be safe and to go to school and not have to do Alice drills or whatever, you know, your school district does, or be afraid that somebody's gonna bring a gun to school.Brad Miller:
Heather, what do you what do you say to that? Basically the same question, what data do you man, Trisha mentioned legislation? For instance? Is there anything really isn't an ABA advocacy group or a lobbying group? Or tell us a little bit about that?Heather Hilbert:
Yeah, so I you know, moms began in Zionsville, Indiana at a kitchen table right after Sandy Hook. And I don't think that Shannon watts, our founder, could perceive where we would be 10 years later. But I think we're we are an advocacy group. And we're advocates for children and families, and Hoosiers and Americans who want to be safe from gun violence. And frankly, that means we want common sense gun legislation. We know that we're not in the minority in the United States, we may have over 400 million firearms floating around in the United States far more than we have citizens. But we do know that most citizens most responsible gun owners like myself, do support common sense gun legislation, things like background checks, and red flag laws and safe storage, as Trisha mentioned. So those are the things that we focus on, particularly here in Indiana, we end up fighting a lot of bad bills, frankly, at our legislature. And so our job in Indiana is to continue to show up in our red shirts, and let them know that we're watching. Last session, I spent probably, probably a total of three or four weeks at the State House fighting permitless carry. That is a bill that they had been trying to pass for several years in Indiana. And as we see, since it's been enacted, has not done us any favors as Hoosiers, our gun violence continues declines. So the legislators that continue to try to tell us that more access to guns means that we're going to be safer continues to be a narrative that just isn't true.Brad Miller:
Bishop I know you've got some questions for these folks. I just I just wanted to reflect for just a second that from what they've shared here. This is a real issue that you mentioned Bishop, I just happen to notice some statistics that I looked up or saw over one. We're recording this in early March. And over 100 incidents of multiple mass shootings have gone on in our country, just in the first two months of our of this calendar year of 2023. In our own community, we all live in Annapolis, Indiana area. I don't remember exactly how number over this past weekend, there was several seven or eight incidents of gun violence in our one metropolitan area. But so that just shows the pervasiveness of the problem. So Bishop tell us what kind of thoughts you have in mind what questions you'd like to ask of Tricia and the other.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, I want to first say thank you. The late Congressman John Lewis said you know No, you don't have to do everything, but everybody can do something. And I am. So I'm inspired by the work you're doing. Can you say a word about his Moms Demand Action grown beyond Hamilton County? Was it a county? I've run across several other organizations in Indiana. In fact, I met some United Methodist, that a part of another organization. Can you? Are you aware of the various other groups? And is there any collaboration when it comes to trying to get good legislation passed?Heather Hilbert:
Yeah, there definitely is a lot of collaboration in this community among those of us who are fighting for gun violence prevention. It started in Boone County in Zionsville. And it now is United States wide, and we have over 6 million members. So in every state in the United States today, there are armies of red shirts showing up at state houses and at the White House and other places demanding change. And like I said, I don't think Shannon could have imagined that's where this would have ended up, you know, 10 years later, but we're really grateful for the network that we have, you know, statewide and nationwide in this fight.Bishop Julius Trimble:
And what about other organizations? Are you aware of other groups that mom's works with? In Indiana or across the country?Heather Hilbert:
Yeah, if you remember, back in, let's see, Trisha might know, the year better than I would. But we had a shooting at Noblesville Middle School a number of years ago. And yep. And from that, that shooting that community was a group that developed that came out of there, and we partnered with him that's Hoosiers against gun violence is that is not the right group.Tricia Owens:
The group that started from that I think is no longer they disbanded. That was in 2018.Bishop Julius Trimble:
But I have met some folks who are part of Hoosiers against gun violence. So that is, that is a group I know thatTricia Owens:
it is still active still.Heather Hilbert:
Yes. But we also try to partner with with other organizations like sheriff's offices, PTOs other organizations that care about children and about about Hoosiers, because we can all play a part in preventing gun violence. So we bring together you know, help people in the health care field, people in law enforcement, gun owners, just a bit of everybody who, who we know are committed to making a change.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Trish, I've been a pastor for 40 years. And several weeks ago, my wife and I were talking about something that we experienced early in ministry that still is impacted me we had a young man in our congregation, who probably was at the time maybe eight years, eight years old, went to went to went to visit his best friend in the night and found they were playing in the bedroom and under the under the bed was a shotgun, the grandfather's shotgun, and he took a chunk out they were playing and he shot his best friend in the head. And the boy, the other boy lived for about a week or so. But it tore apart two families. Two different congregations. And the young man who was a member of our church, ended up in juvenile detention. And he was he didn't end up doing any prison time. But because then I went and testified because it was it was an accident. But it was a preventable accident because they were playing and there was a gun that was so readily available. And that and that traumatized, traumatized. A lot of people, people often don't realize it, for example, trips, like you're witnessing something, every time there's a gun, not just a killing, but every time someone's wounded, through homicide or some of the tips suicide in most cases, they're successful. When they use guns and suicide. There are multiple people traumatized as a result of that for a period a long period of time. And, you know, we were we were traumatized by the experience that we had, working working with these two families. I think there's a place for the faith community in this. I'm just curious, Trisha and Heather. Do you share that thought with me or, or do you think this is something that we just should just pray about and hope things get better? I often often say to my leadership team, I'm a prisoner of hope, but hope is not a strategy.Heather Hilbert:
Well, I will speak for myself. I do think that the churches is one of the most powerful places that can can make change. You have that group of people that are coming together in the name of Jesus and our religious tradition, who, you know, we've been told, Blessed are the peacemakers. And so we have people sitting in pews who are following Jesus. And if we're following Jesus, then we have to be paying attention to the things that Jesus says, you know, when you do something for the least of these, you do it for me, if you don't do it, for the least of these, you don't do it for me. And we know that every single child person on this earth is, is a is a reflection of God. And so we love them as such. And in order to, to love someone, I think that includes fighting for justice and protecting them as well. I do think that there are places in the church where we get a little uncomfortable, and we don't want to talk about things that might be political. But I have personally found that the the places where I'm most uncomfortable initially are often the places where I grow the most. And that's true of both my faith and of, of my, you know, thoughts and in the political arena. So I do wish that we heard more from church leaders like you, Bishop, I'm grateful for this, this platform, that conversation that you continue to have in the conference, because we do need more faith leaders speaking up about violence in this country and our commitment as Christians to love one another, and to serve one another, and not turn a blind eye to what's happening to our neighbor.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Trish, would it? What would you say in terms of when some sometimes we think of vision as a picture of the preferred future? What is a picture of a preferred future as we do this work? When you look ahead, what what would you like to see in your lifetime?Tricia Owens:
That's a really good question. I would just like to see lower numbers, I look at the CDC, CDC statistics for gun violence, deaths and injuries. i In Indiana, I know I've brought up the safe storage thing several times, but it's something that is so important, like the story you just shared about your that child and your church, you know, an eight year old being carted off to jail over an unintentional shooting is not something to see in the future. You know, kids are kids, and they're the it's the adults that are responsible for these things, not children. So, you know, I, I wish that Indiana would put together a safe storage law that could actually get passed. Because I think with that not only is it a law that, you know, adults can be held responsible legally, but it with it brings education. And lots of times when I'm talking to folks about locking up their guns, you can see the look on their face when I tell them that 75% of kids know where their parents have hidden their gut and if it's not in a safe.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Wow, they know I didn't know that. Yeah,Tricia Owens:
they think they're being sneaky, but they're not. Kids are smart, and they're nosy so you know, just just I really wish that we could educate people and be like I said most most people who don't have their guns safely stored think they do, or they don't really think their kids would pick up the gun and you know,Heather Hilbert:
with their child and said, you know, don't touch this. And that was enough. Yeah. And Kate like she said, kids are curious, they're gonna pick it up.Brad Miller:
Bishop I also know that this is not an issue that is relegated to some. Sometimes people think this, you know, just only criminals or people who are, you know, just, you know, kind of living on the rough edge or what's bad. We know about all the school shootings. We know about all the shootings in churches and other places and other public workplaces. The FedEx facility in Annapolis has just won Michigan State University recently. I'll give you two quick wins out of my own personal experience of guns in church. A good personal friend of mine, a guy with a college with was pastoring in a neighboring church. He was shot dead in the pulpit. And I preached for him the next Sunday with bloodstains on the carpet. He you don't think that was a traumatic traumatic experience for that congregation me personally. My college buddy shot dead in the pulpit, and me preaching the next Sunday and then a few years later, a gunman who came into our church where I was interested in a church where I was pastor. The preschool was having their Santa Claus Christmas party, and my own daughter was in the preschool and a gunman came in I had to intercept him and we had a little confrontation there. These are just assets and on my own ministry. So Bishop I'd like for you to speak for a minute about what can churches do you know we got two women here are demanding action. What action can churches Due to react to respond to gun violence in their own among their own parishioners, or, you know, in their community, what can churches do?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, I think churches ought to have some kind of safety protocol for gatherings. period number one, and number two, I think we ought to break the silence on things that we might think are political, or prohibitive. You know, I was at a local church that really helped me do lay people helped me do that. I think laypeople need to demand of their congregations say, listen, we're not asking you to endorse candidates. But we want our pastors and we want our churches to address real life issues that are impacting, like I said, this is a national health crisis, we lost million, over a million people plus to the COVID 19 virus. But we also over the course of time, our life expectancy has gone down in the last three or four years, because of COVID. And because of gun violence, the leading cause of those under 18. So I think we're on safe ground. Heather's already quoted several scriptures, we are on safe ground to break the silence in our congregations and places of worship, and coffee shops, and so forth. This is not about taking away people's legal rights. But it is about prioritizing the right to live without the fear of dying from gun violence. We have an epidemic and suicides, and I think we rank it, my data may be wrong, and these moms may have better data, I think we ranked number 19 in gun violence in terms of state of Indiana, out of 50 states. And, you know, we really, we're not the most populous state in the country either. So there, there's way too many guns, way too much violence, period. And way too much silence. And for those, I just can't, it gets to my last nerve, when I keep hearing this flawed argument, Heather has already dispelled that, that more guns somehow is the answer to gun violence. You know, that just doesn't make sense. It makes sense to those who are making tremendous profits on on the manufacturing of guns. So why would you say people why they manufacture Well, everybody is 400 and something 1000 gun, million guns, right? And we've got 2 million people. So we got more guns, if we have more than we have people if I think 25% Of all the guns, if not more in the world, in this country. So so we have a we have, again, an overrun of guns that are in our country, I think we really ought to have much more stringent rules as it relates to, to gun access. And as it relates to background checks, red flag laws that really work and that are in force, some some states have them. And it found that they made a difference, some don't. So I think things like the work we're doing around mental health support, and gun violence are not unrelated to things that we're doing around peacemaking and gun violence is not unrelated. What whatever we can do to make people feel heard and loved and supported, particularly young people. Maybe we can make a dent and reduce the number of suicides as well. We also know that a lot of people who are in high stress vocations police officers, military veterans also don't get enough help and too often to victims of suicide so there's a lot we can do and I'm the I'm of the if we can do is a small things with great love. It's better than talking about big things and with a lot of judgment. So I'm for joining the fam a bread man you we can figure out how we can become fan club members of Moms Demand actually I don't think we qualify since there's probably an auxilary for the man.Heather Hilbert:
Yes, we call ourselves mothers and others. So welcome BishopUnknown:
mothers and others love it. But you know, Bishop you make a good point you and I may be fans of moms who demand action. And there's lots of people who are and we need to cruise in our churches but the fact is Trisha and Heather and you probably know this much better than I had to Bishop do. Not everybody is a fan of yours. Not everybody's a fan of what you're about. There are lots of people who go, you women are nuts to think that this is really going to make an impact. If you're going to try to take my guns away from me, you are got another thing coming. And some people would dismissive some people egotistical, some people sexist or racist or whatever it would be, but they just think you are going the wrong direction. How do you respond to people who say, okay, the solve this problem, we need to arm our pastors, our preschool teachers, our school teachers, or whatever the process is, the more guns argument, or other things like this helped me help us understand how you respond to those people who push against you. And many other people are pushing program legislation in our state legislatures and things like that as well. Heather, can you speak to that for a second? And then Trisha?Heather Hilbert:
Sir, I'd love to you. How do I respond to that? It we are not new to that. My response would be that we show up and we plant our feet firmly. You know, we don't back down. We don't back down, we show up. And we we expect to hold our alarm, our lawmakers accountable. I've testified against a number of bills in the Indiana legislature answering questions from some of those lawmakers that you're speaking of who think that we're crazy. And I continue to have the same conversations with them each time. One of the things that I think is so striking about the Indiana legislature itself, is that we hear all the time from our lawmakers that they discount deaths by suicide, they will say yeah, but your statistics include suicide, you know that those don't count will tell that to a to a family who has lost a father or a child to suicide. Those do matter, unintentional shootings matter. People who are injured by guns and may not be killed those matter. And so that's the conversation that we continue to try to have at the Statehouse with our legislators is that their definition of gun violence is far too narrow. 58% of the shootings that happen deaths that happened by gun in Indiana are harm or suicides, not homicides. And so that's a conversation that I think the church can engage with, with mental health. And helping people understand that that there are far more Hoosiers dying from suicide even in areas like Hamilton County than they are other places. As for our detractors, you know, I just I keep saying we're gonna keep showing up. So they will not detract us from the work that we're doing. We're 10 years in as an organization. I know Trisha and I are committed volunteers here in Indiana. And frankly, we're not going anywhere.Brad Miller:
Trisha, basically same thing for you. You have somebody says, Trisha, you are just on the wrong track here, you really don't know what you're talking about. Trisha, you are out of your mind, you have your thing, because it's going to happen here. How do you respond to those people?Tricia Owens:
I feel like most of the people who say things like that to us have no data to back up what their their arguments. You know, the I, you know, people who completely live by the Second Amendment think that, you know, there's a lot of misconception, they think that we're against the Second Amendment, we are not, they think we want to take away their guns we do not. They're running on a lot of assumptions that simply aren't true about our organization for one. So that's easy to dismiss, you know, those types of things. But, you know, talking about more guns will make us safer, you know, we are exponentially higher in gun deaths than any other, you know, pure nation. So the arguments just don't add up, as you know, against the data. SoBrad Miller:
we have the data. Thank you for that. Bishop. What about the theological arguments here? What about what is the Bible say about this? What is the widely be approached for the pastor or the church leader, to seek to bring a faith based element to this?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, I think nobody's dismissed the 10 commandments, and they don't have an expiration date. So I think God's message to Moses still applies Thou shalt not to kill. And Heather says that, you know, I'd like to be called many things. But most of all, I'm United Methodist, but more important than being United Methodist, a Christian, more important than all of that is, I'd like to consider myself a child of God, a child of the human family. And Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they should be called the children of God. So I really want to be considered one of the children of God. So I'm committed to a life of advocating peacemaking. I think that's at the root of our Christian guidelines here in Indiana conference, our general rules in the United Methodist Church, it's really not that hard is do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God. And is the as the as God spoke to the prophet Micah said what this God requires a man with his god to cry, but to do justice, love mercy walk humbly with God. So I think the theological and biblical basis is really we are to love our neighbors. And then, in the case of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, he said, Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. So I think we ought to be harbingers of hope, but also traffickers of love and peace, and justice, and be unapologetic about, we can't keep doing the same things and expecting a different result. That's, you know, that's literally That's insanity. And I think we can't just keep having prayer, prayer vigils, which we should and mourning folks and, and tinkering with a few laws here and there, and still bowing down to the idol gods of violence and gun and gun ownership. I just think we can do better than than what we've done. And I know we don't have a grant, we don't have a king or dictator. So it really is gonna be incumbent upon the people. So I'm sure the mop moms when you when you're testifying, they're looking at not only a mom who's concerned, but also registered voters. Because you're fighting against we're fighting against these humongous lobbyists, who have all this money to keep the support industries that make money, make money from this from this carnage. Jesus says this, and I'll close with this John 1633. You know, I've come in my desires for you to paraphrase my desire is for you to have peace. In this world, you will have trouble with some translations a tribulation or persecution. But fret not Jesus says, for I have overcome this world. So I think in the end, God wins. But there's so many casualties along the way, and so many preventable deaths, homicides and suicides. And, you know, we know that we know for a fact because there's so many guns that in domestic violence situations, so many deaths and injuries result result is because of the plethora of guns that are in our homes. So I think we can do better, and people of faith can do better. And I'm inspired by these two young women who and their and their commitment to the, to this cause.Brad Miller:
Well, thank you for sharing that. And just we always like to kind of bring our conversation here and to be encouraged around to an encouraging word. And we've talked about some tough here, some tough topic here today to deal with. And I thank you for the courage that comes out of your faith here to both Heather and Tricia. But Trisha, what is something you are encouraged about in this whole conversation here? Give us a word there about what's encouraging.Tricia Owens:
I think I, I always look back at the sprint versus marathon. So I know that we're like getting farther into this and more and more things are changing, and it can only hopefully get better with time.Brad Miller:
Heather, how about you? What is I know we've typed in some tough things here. But what what word of encouragement Do you have maybe a particular for someone who is dealing in some form or another, they maybe they have a gun in the house that they don't know they need to some direction about but what's an encouraging word that you might have?Heather Hilbert:
I think I am so encouraged by our young people. We just recently had our first advocacy day back at the State House, as Moms Demand Action and that these young people have grown up in a world where they all they know where Allah Stroz they they hear about school shootings regularly, our generations didn't have that. So this is the world that we've handed them. And to see these kids show up at the statehouse and, and speak truth to power to speak to legislators and say we don't want to live like this anymore. I'm tired of losing my friends. I'm tired of being scared at school. So they give me great hope they encouraged me to continue in this work, because I do think that they are going to be the ones that that change it. So that would be my encouragement,Brad Miller:
and due to a lot of leadership has come for young people high school and college students and so on. But basically give us a closing word of encouragement and maybe close with a prayer pleaseBishop Julius Trimble:
be glad to. And I'm encouraged by those who not only commit themselves to pray, and to engage in bringing about change, but those who have volunteered to do that. These two women are not highly paid staff people on a on a nonprofit organization. But there there are citizens who are committed to make it a world better for our children and in the succeeding generations. So I'm inspired by people who, who have have made a decision to do something and not just complain too often we stand on the sidelines and said, Well, I wish the world would just get better, rather than actually participate. And small acts of kindness and courage that literally transform the world. If you're hearing this podcast, you may be a person that can bring about change. So you may be a person that needs to make change in your own household, or seek help if you need help. And so I'd like to close with the prayer Lord God, we just ask that you would provide help for those who are seeking help today. Remind them that their life matters and all lives matter around them. Remind us if we are gun owners that we should be responsible and make sure those guns are secure, and remind us that we need not teach or preach hatred, but we can embrace love, peacemaking, kindness, and courage. We thank you oh god for waking us up this morning. And we pray that tomorrow when we wake up, the problems that we've talked about today will become less of a problem because of the changes that can take place in our lifetime. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.