Faith leaders across the nation continue to share their response and reaction to the Texas school shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, in which at least 19 children and two teachers lost their lives due to the heinous act of an apparent lone gunman. Others were wounded in the melee.
Jake Bland, president of Youth for Christ (YFC), based in Englewood, Colorado, shared with Fox News Digital late on Tuesday evening, “Our hearts are heavy as we have watched the tragic events occurring in the communities of Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. We are compelled to mourn and pray for all who have been touched by this unimaginable grief.”
Also, he said, “We must acknowledge that so many countless others share this grief due to similar tragic events in their lives.”
While “our words are imperfect,” he added, “we are also emboldened to continue putting our prayers into action. [Our] focus is coming alongside young people who are experiencing pivotal moments in life.”
Bland also said, “Young people can often feel hopeless or overcome especially in times of tragedy, and it’s our passion to make them feel seen, heard and valued.”
“Our aim as leaders is to be a consistent voice and presence in their lives, intentionally postured as safe, humble and authentic mentors. We seek to provide the hope of Jesus, always but especially when things are dark.”
A law enforcement officer speaks with people outside Uvalde High School after shooting was reported earlier on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
Finally, Bland noted, “Jesus offers hope. We want young people to know that God sees them, understands and cares deeply.”
“We are with these communities in this grief — and we refuse to become unaffected or apathetic to this violence.”
‘It’s time to be the light’
Speaking to Fox News Digital as well about the Texas school shooting, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, lead pastor of New Season Worship in Sacramento, California, and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said via text, “Broken people break people.”
He added, “A young man mentally and spiritually broken manifested an evil, extinguishing the light of our most innocent vulnerable.”
“Political rhetoric will not push back darkness.”
“It was not an inanimate object that took the lives of our fellow Americans. It was a young man filled with darkness.”
Rodriguez continued, “Any politicization of this tragedy can only be described as morally reprehensible. New laws will not push back darkness. Political rhetoric will not push back darkness. Divisive declarations will not push back darkness. Only light will overcome darkness.”
Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Added the pastor, “When we call upon the name of the Lord, we turn on the light. When we repent, we turn on the light. When we seek unity and recognize the image of God in each other, we turn on the light. It’s time to be the light.”
“For the sake of our children and our children’s children and those whose lives were cut short in Texas, let’s honor them by being the light.”
He also said, “Because every single time light stands next to darkness, light always wins.”
‘Will face justice on the other side’
Co-founders of the Virginia-based Radiance Foundation, Ryan Bomberger and Bethany Bomberger, shared thoughts as well with Fox News Digital.
“This is an act of evil and cowardice,” they said late on Tuesday evening.
“This needs more than a legislative or political solution.”
“Terrorists never choose targets that can fight back,” the Bombergers added.
“We mourn with the families whose loved ones were violently killed in today’s massacre.”
A state trooper walks past the Robb Elementary School sign in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, following a deadly shooting at the school. (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
They also pointed out, “Our culture is drowning in violence. Hollywood profits from it. Our music industry glorifies it. Social media is steeped in it.”
“This needs more than a legislative or political solution,” they also said.
“This evil is deeply spiritual. There are children and adults who never will be able to live out their God-given purpose and a shooter who will not have to pay for his crimes this side of eternity.”
Yet “he will face justice on the other side,” they concluded.