Children and Violence

1999 Church of the Brethren Resolution

The Church of the Brethren is deeply concerned by the increased frequency and severity of school-related violence due to a lethal mix of factors, including:

  • the pervasiveness of violence and violent images in our culture;
  • our own passive acceptance of this culture of violence;
  • the ease with which young people can acquire firearms;
  • and our nation’s readiness to resort to violence in the foreign and domestic arenas.

In light of these disturbing realities, we recommit ourselves to our heritage of nonviolence as modeled by the life and teachings of Jesus and our mission of continuing this vital work.

We call on congregations to teach peace and pursue it within their fellowship, and to take the lead in advocating for peace within their communities, nation and world. We also encourage congregations to actively approach school boards and other appropriate public policy agencies to request the establishment of school-based curricular instruction in conflict resolution, peace education, anger control and the tolerance of others.>

We call our members, especially the youth of the church, to turn away from the culture of violence in its many manifestations in our society and to live as people of peace. We encourage members, young and old, to refrain from playing violent video games of any kind, listening to music that promotes violence or hatred, or viewing movies or television shows where violence is glorified or sanitized.

In particular we reaffirm the 1978 Annual Conference Statement “Violence and the use of Firearms” in its call for elimination of all weapons used for human destruction. In addition we call for more effective gun control legislation, especially legislation that would protect our children from gun-related violence, and encourage our members to actively support such legislation.

In a society and world saturated with violence and violent images, we recommit ourselves to the challenge of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:21 to, “…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”