In his announcement of several executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence, President Obama quoted Jesus. The passage is from the Gospel of John:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The president used the passage in reference to the death of Zaevion Dobson, a 15-year-old who was killed in Tennessee in December while protecting three girls from gunfire:
If you have any doubt as to why you should feel that fierce urgency of now, think about what happened three weeks ago. Zaevion Dobson was a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He played football, beloved by his classmates and his teachers. His own mayor called him one of their city’s success stories. The week before Christmas he headed to a friend’s house to play videogames. He wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time, he hadn’t made a bad decision, he was exactly where any other kid would be – your kid, my kids. And then gunmen started firing. And Zaevion, who was in high school - hadn’t even gotten started in life - dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. And he was shot in the head, and the girls were spared. He gave his life to save theirs, an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We are not asked to do what Zaevion Dobson did. We’re not asked to have shoulders that big, a heart that strong, reactions that quick. I’m not asking people to have that same level of courage or sacrifice or love. But if we love our kids and care about their prospects and if we love this country and care about its future, then we can find the courage to vote. We can find the courage to get mobilized and organized. We can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do. That’s what we’re doing today, and tomorrow we should to more, and we should do more the day after that, and if we do we’ll leave behind a nation that is stronger than the one we inherited and that is worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like Zaevion.