October 27, 2018
Statement Responding to Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh
The deadly attack today on Jews at prayer in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue is a tragedy for the local Jewish community and, sadly, another serious warning about the dangers of religious hatred now thriving more and more openly in this country.
We mourn the deaths of at least eight innocent people who had come together to honor their Jewish religious tradition of sharing sabbath rest and worship. We are also deeply concerned for all who were injured by a hate-mongering shooter and for the Pittsburgh community at large. We believe strongly that when one of us is oppressed and violated, it is an attack on the soul, diversity and safety of the whole community.
This violent, senseless loss of life occurred for only one reason – one man’s belief that “All Jews must die.” His actions illustrate how hatred in even one individual willing to act on it is a threat to us all. Any worshipper in any synagogue, church, mosque or other house of worship could be as easily at risk in any neighborhood nationwide.
Even in times like ours, when disagreement and dissatisfaction in our society are at a high point, viciously targeting one group is always wrong. Prejudice provides no solution, only greater danger and more challenges. It is an affront to the very values of freedom that we believe should sustain this country. These values are the foundation fostering interfaith solidarity and respect.
Our coalition has always relied on the strength generated by uniting people of many faiths to fight injustice. Today, we urge all faith communities — and all others who simply believe we are responsible for one another — to boldly stand together with renewed energy to denounce and eliminate all forms of bigotry and the hate crimes they can produce. The strength of our faith traditions and democracy depends on it.