Regarding the “Unite the Right” gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia

Regarding the “Unite the Right” gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia

A Statement by US Religious Leaders

On Behalf of the Council of Presidents and Executive Council of
Religions for Peace USA  
August 14, 2017
 
Regarding the “Unite the Right” gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia

 
As leaders of U.S. faith communities, we are deeply disheartened by the recent discrimination and violence witnessed in the “Unite the Right” gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia during August 11-12, 2017. 
 
We express profound sorrow and grief over the injuries and tragic loss of life carried out in the name of hate. Our prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer and Virginia State Police Officers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.
 
We join voices and hands with many in speaking out and witnessing unequivocally against the racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, and additional forms of “othering” that are now so publicly manifest in our culture. We are gravely troubled by this marked increase of intolerance, both in words and actions.  
 
There is no place for white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or like forms of identity-based prejudice in our nation.  Such positions are utterly contrary to the values of each of our faith traditions and are contrary to our shared understanding of human dignity.  There is continued room, however, to address the underlying fears that give rise to such intolerance.
 
As leaders of the US affiliate of the world’s largest interreligious organization, Religions for Peace, we join a great multitude of sisters and brothers in faith to condemn bigotry, to call for civil discourse, and to insist upon ways to foster understanding, healing, and hope.
 
We are concerned for communities where additional “alt-right” and white nationalist gatherings are planned in the coming weeks.  We call for peaceful witness demonstrating that love surpasses hate.
 
We ask for clear and unambiguous communication from our political officials in these matters.  We invite thoughtful and purposed engagement by people of faith in creating conversations and setting higher standards for civil decency and discourse.
 
For more information: Executive Director, Donna Bollinger, [email protected], 212-338-9140

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