In the wake of murderous acts in Pittsburgh, the bombing in the Philippines, the deadly terror in Christchurch, black churches set ablaze in Louisiana, the bombing in Sri Lanka — our beloved city now finds its name among the growing list of places where religious houses of worship were targeted by those who harbor hate.
As people of faith, goodwill and conscience, we must boldly speak out against these egregious and despicable acts targeting people of faith. We must boldly name these acts as evil, shameful and intolerable in our community, nation and world. And we must assure all, without regard to their religious beliefs, that no one should ever fear practicing and deepen their faith in their houses of worship. We must work in every way to advance and sustain communities of safety, inclusion, love and justice for all people.
We cannot remain silent in the face of these immoral acts.
We cannot sit still in silence and inaction.
We must resist.
We must fight, and we must pray.
Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor well-known for his resistance to anti-Semitism in the 1930s, reminds us all of how important it is to speak our truths in these perilous times. His words, etched in stone on memorials throughout the world, speak to us today. As we extend our thoughts and prayers to our sisters and brothers directly impacted by anti-Semitic hate in Poway and all who have been emotionally and spiritually wounded, let us vow to not never stay silent in the face of hatred, oppression, violence, and values that erode our liberation and recommit ourselves to advance love, shalom and justicia in every part of our world.
A reprint of this essay appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on Sunday, May 5, 2019.