Posted by: jblevins | June 10, 2008

Safety on Public Lands

The Episcopal Public Policy Network has called our attention to an issue of safety in our National Park System. They begin by calling to mind the following quote from John T. Waterman, President of the Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police: “Our parks are a refuge for not only wildlife, but as peaceful havens to our citizens as well.”

This peace found in National Parks could be threatened by an attempt to allow concealed weapons in them. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been pushing hard to allow loaded guns in America’s national parks. Under intense political pressure orchestrated by the NRA, the Bush Administration recently proposed new regulations that would allow visitors to carry loaded, concealed firearms in national parks if the state where a national park unit is located permits people to carry concealed firearms in their state parks. Click here to visit the site of National Parks Conservation Association, and share your comments with the Administration.

Lands, wilderness, and open spaces have always been central to the Judeo-Christian tradition, playing a vital role in the spiritual journeys of Biblical peoples from Moses to Jesus Christ. Lands are also an essential part of God’s creation. Through them, God nourishes life; provides the foundation of terrestrial ecosystems and human communities; supplies blessings of sustenance like soil, water, timber and minerals; and offers natural space for prayer and spiritual renewal. As a nation, we recognize and celebrate these blessings in the 623 million acres of public lands nationwide. These include our national parks and forests, wilderness and conservation areas, wildlife refuges, and other lands held in the public trust. Click here to make sure this places remain important places of refuge and peace.

Click here for more information on the Public Lands Initiative of the NCC.

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