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  • Statement on Anti-Religious Violence in Houses of Prayer

    Update in 2019

    December 30, 2019 | By lgolemon
    Categories: Public, Executive Director

    The statement below, adopted by the WTC Boards in November of 2018, sadly remains relevant into 2020.  Recent acts of violence at an Hasidic Rabbi’s home in New York and a shooting at a Christian Church in Texas add to the string of attacks against Muslims in New Zealand, Christians in Sri Linka, and Jews across the nation: from the synagogue in Poway, CA to the Kosher store in New Jersey to the most recent attacks. Anti-religious forms of hate are especially combustible and abhorrent.   So we continue to pray and advocate for greater measures–in religious communities, in social contexts, and in politics to curb hate crimes, gun violence, and anti-religious bigotry.    (Larry Golemon)

    Statement about anti-Religious Violence in Houses of Worship
    Washington Theological Consortium Board of Trustees
    A Consortium of Ten Theological Schools and Interfaith Partners

    The murder of eleven faithful congregants and the wounding of seven others at the Tree of Life Synagogue at the hands of an antisemitic killer signal a growing moral and spiritual crisis for all communities of faith. Along with other horrific shootings in or near houses of worship—such as the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting at the First Baptist Church (2017), the Charleston, South Carolina shooting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (2015), and the killing of an imam and congregant outside a mosque in Ozone Park, New York (2016)—the shooting in Pittsburgh reflects continuing anti-religious, ethnic, and racist hate crimes that must be countered with public outcries, acts of interfaith solidarity, and ongoing education.

    Because the Tree of Life shooting is the deadliest act of antisemitic violence in the history of our country, and because antisemitism has a distinct place in the history of Christian anti-Judaism and violence against Jews and other faiths, the communities of the Washington Theological Consortium protest this egregious act and express our moral solidarity with the larger Jewish community. We also express our deepest lament for the victims, their families, the congregation, and the wider Jewish community and the public of Pittsburgh, where one of our partner seminaries resides.We at the Washington Theological Consortium stand with all faith communities that experience violence aimed at them because of their faith, ethnicity, or race. We also stand against all forms of anti-religious hatred. We cherish the close working partnerships we have with Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and interfaith organizations in the mid-Atlantic region, and we pledge to work with them to resist anti-religious hatred and prejudice and to further understanding and deep respect for peoples of other faiths. We pray for God’s blessing upon all communities affected and for our partners in this work.

    Passed Unanimously by the WTC Board of Trustees
    In tribute to all victims in houses of prayer, especially those in
    Pittsburgh, Sutherland Springs, Charleston, and Ozone Park
    Signed Nov. 9-10 in memory of Kristallnacht, 1938

    Rev. Dr. Ridgeway Addison, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University and Baptist clergyman, Public Trustee

    Dr. Ahmed Alwani, Executive Director, Heritage Education Trust,
    Vice President, International Institute for Islamic Thought

    Rev. Dr. Margaret Benefiel, Executive Director, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation

    Sandra Collins, PhD, Director of Information Services and Professor, Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA

    Rev. Frank DeSiano, CSP, Director of Formation, Paulist Washington Community

    Mr. Jack Figel, Byzantine Catholic Lector, Publisher, Eastern Christian Publications, Chairman, Orientale Lumen Foundation, Chair of the Board

    Mr. Christopher Gerlach, Roman Catholic Layman, Public Trustee

    Rev. Dr. Larry Golemon, Executive Director of the Washington Theological Consortium, ad-hoc Board Member

    Dr. Richard Green, Interim President, United Lutheran Seminary

    Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness, JD, DMin, Senior Pastor, Christ Our Redeemer
    African Methodist Episcopal Church (DC), Public Trustee

    Fr. John Langlois, OP, President of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies

    Very Rev. Ian Markham, PhD, President and Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary

    Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, President, Wesley Theological Seminary

    Ms. Marlene Soyka McCracken, Byzantine Catholic Laywoman, Public Trustee

    Rev. Dr. Mark Morozowich, School of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of America

    Dr. Kent Myers, Presbyterian Church (USA) Deacon, Vice Chair of the Board

    Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Professor and Dean, Howard University School of Divinity

    Rev. Thomas Prinz, Evangelical Lutheran Church clergyman, Public Trustee

    Dr. Scott Redd, President, Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

    Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, Executive Director, Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies

    Rev. Mark Schaefer, JD, University Chaplain at American University, United Methodist Church clergyman, Public Trustee

    Mr. Carlo Uchello, Episcopal Church Layman, Public Trustee

    Dr. Corey D. B. Walker, Vice President, Dean, and Professor of Religion and Society,
    Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University

    Rev. J. Brent Walker, Interim President, John Leland Center for Theological Studies

    Signatures of Support from the WTC Student Board:

    Ms. Kasongo Butler, student at Wesley Theological Seminary

    Mr. Nic Cochran, student at the Theological College, Catholic University of America

    Mr. John Deason, student at the United Lutheran Seminary

    Ms. Julie Hagen, student at Wesley Theological Seminary

    Br. Josemaría Guzmán-Domínguez, OP, student at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies

    Mr. Eric Hernandez, CSP, student at CUA and the Paulist House of Mission and Studies

    Ms. Jasmine Mitchell, student at the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University

    Br. Isidore Rice, OP, student at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies

    Mr. Sylvester Samudre, student at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies

    Mr. Brian Simmons-Scie, student at the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University

    Mr. Peter Simmons-Scie, student at the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University

    Mr. Kevin Tracey, student at the United Lutheran Seminary

    (Banner photos from AP by Matt Rourke, RNS by Yonat Shimron, AP by Stephen Mortenz)

    A Tribute to:

    Those who died in the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh (2018)

    Those who Died inside First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs, Texas (2017)

    Those who Died inside Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC (2015)

    The Imam who was Killed (with congregant) outside a mosque in Ozone Park, NY (2016)

    And many more…