For Immediate Release: October 27, 2018

Media Contact: Shannon Craig Straw, West End Strategy Team, 202-674-5921, scstraw@westendstrategy.com

Faith Leaders: End the Dangerous Rhetoric and End Gun Violence

WASHINGTON – Offering prayers for all impacted by this morning’s shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network), the Rev. Michael McBride, director of the LIVE FREE Campaign, a campaign of Faith in Action, and Richard Morales, policy and program director of La Red, a campaign of Faith in Action, condemned the anti-Semitism and hate-fueled rhetoric that led to today’s violence.

In a statement the Rev. Alvin Herring said:

“We stand today with our Jewish loved ones, heartbroken and angry to find ourselves in the wake of yet another mass shooting. We mourn the lives lost today to hatred and anti-Semitism fueled by politicians, just as we’ve mourned the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to gun violence since a gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school.

“Today’s shooting is not the only act of violence this week committed in the name of hate. Only two days ago, two Black Americans were killed, including the father of the woman in charge of diversity and equity for the city of Louisville, after a gunman attempted to enter First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown with the intent to kill African Americans. Both instances of gun violence come in the shadow of a string of pipe bombs sent to several Democratic officials and public figures.

“Since day one, the current administration has cultivated a culture of hate and fear, using dangerous rhetoric that gives cover to violent actors. As people of faith, we are called to work in opposition to the administration’s attempt to disconnect us from one another in their effort to retain power. The hate-filled and dangerous rhetoric and the violence must stop.”

The Rev. Michael McBride added:

“Nearly six years ago, we stood on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. alongside clergy from Newtown, outraged at the refusal from politicians to take the steps we know will reduce violence. And here we are all these years later, mourning the loss of more lives because those same politicians still turn a blind eye to the violence that plagues this country as their inaction their rhetoric, especially the president’s, embolden those motivated by racism and anti-Semitism. That forces of hatred are on the rise and so little has been done to stem the tide of gun violence is a moral failure.

“Nothing we do today, tomorrow or in the coming weeks and months will bring back those who were murdered in Pittsburgh today. But make no mistake about it – ending gun violence is a responsibility which we all must embrace and struggle to own. It is a personal responsibility, a communal responsibility, a social responsibility and a national responsibility. We must do all we can to prevent the next tragedy.”

Richard Morales, who has worked alongside Jewish organizations including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to advocate for immigrants, also said:

“We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters today and every day as we grieve the loss of our neighbors. The hate that the immigrant community faces every day — hate that drives policies tearing apart families — is the same hate and white supremacist beliefs that drove today’s horrific anti-Semitic attack. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have stood with us every step of the way to provide sanctuary, oppose bigotry and resist the wicked policies in place. And we will fight side-by-side with them against any and all anti-Semitic violence now and in the future.”

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information visit www.faithinaction.org.
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