Editor's note: The following commentary has an unusual byline; it is cosigned not by the ministers or leadership of the churches involved, but the congregations themselves, who felt that making a statement as an entire group would be more meaningful. Although the general policy of the ADN editorial page is to require the names of individual authors, that requirement was waived in this case for practicality's sake.
As communities within the larger Christian tradition, we see the signs of a terrible transformation happening within the social and political fabric of the United States. Although never totally absent from among us, violent acts are taking their place as acceptable, even worthy of applause and cheers. Whole social and political movements are being built by appealing to the worst within us.
Hate multiplies and grows more powerful when love is silent. Recent hate crimes, including the killing of 11 congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue and the shooting of two black citizens in a Kentucky grocery store, are but two recent acts.
Evil attempts to build walls of hate separating neighbor from neighbor. The resulting violence takes the lives of precious sisters and brothers and attempts to erase entire communities and cultures. This strikes at the very root of our faith in a God of justice, peace and love, and should alarm all people, whether they participate within faith communities or not.
The God of justice and peace calls us to end our silence, to speak out against the massive tide of violence and threats of violence that have engulfed our nation, and to stand in solidarity with the people who have become the targets of hate and violence.
We stand together with all people of good will, reaching out across the barriers evil creates — barriers of skin color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, and citizenship. We condemn the violence and the increasing manifestation of hateful ideas in our public discourse.
We call for all Alaskans to speak up and declare that we will not be divided against one another and demand that our elected officials be held accountable when they condone and stoke the flames of fear and hatred or remain silent in order to avoid the cost of speaking out. Please join us as we all strive to build communities that look for and celebrate the inherent goodness and humanity in all people.
First Congregational Church of Anchorage
Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Metropolitan Community Church Last Frontier
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
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