The Episcopal Church in Michigan has passed a controversial resolution calling for stiffer gun control, drawing sharp criticism from conservative members who say it violates the right to bear arms.
The dispute is part of a larger debate among Episcopalians and other mainline Protestants about the future of their churches as they face sharp declines in membership.
Some conservatives say the gun resolution is the latest example of the Episcopal Church focusing on promoting liberal social issues such as gun control and same-sex marriage instead of the gospel, alienating congregants. But liberals say that their views are in line with the teachings of Christianity.
By a clear majority, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan ”” which consists of southeast Michigan and the Lansing and Jackson areas ”” voted recently to approve a resolution calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases, banning all sales of semiautomatic weapons, high-impact ammunition, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.