Pennsylvania Council of Churches Condemns Violence and Vandalism Against Jewish and Muslim Communities
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches is deeply saddened and condemns the violence and vandalism aimed at our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters. We grieve the hate and fear that provokes a fear of the “other”—persons who are different—and leads to engaging in this kind of reprehensible behavior. We call on all persons of faith and good will to stand together to support shalom—a culture of peace, justice, compassion and love that is God’s desire for all of humankind.
As Christians, we believe that God calls us to love our neighbor—and for Jesus, neighbor extends far beyond our closest acquaintances to encompass even our enemies. He showed love, compassion and kindness to those who occupied the fringes of his own society. But we also share a common value with those of every faith tradition, known simply as the Golden Rule—treat others as you wish to be treated. No one wants to witness vandalism of the resting places of our loved ones or our houses of worship. No one wishes to be the object of intimidation, discrimination, and violence. No one wants to live in fear. We are called to speak out against any acts of terror toward our fellow human beings, and to look deeply into any failures or complacency on our part that may have contributed to shameful attacks on our Muslim and Jewish sisters and brothers.
We urge all Pennsylvanians to reach out in love, hospitality, and friendship to neighbors, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or any other characteristics that may mark them as different. Get to know your neighbors who are experiencing fear and intimidation, and find out how you can comfort and support them.
We pray for a spirit of curiosity and hospitality that fosters understanding and a Commonwealth characterized by neighbors living together in peace.