RNS Press Release Service

Statement about acts of anti-religious violence in houses of worship

By the Washington Theological Consortium Board of Trustees:
A Consortium of Ten Theological Schools

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 of Trustees
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, Dean, 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

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Contact

Larry Golemon
[email protected]
(202) 832-2675

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