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People of Faith, Stand with Us

As religious leaders in San Diego and Imperial Counties, we have witnessed the beauty and the depth of the Jewish and Muslim communities and the faith which animates them. We profess in our own Christian faith the unity of the human family that has been created by God, equal in dignity. We are grateful for the many years of peaceful interfaith cooperation that religious leaders of all faiths have worked hard to foster here in the San Diego area. Now, however, the conflict in the Holy Land threatens that deepening understanding between people of faith here at home. Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism are utterly incompatible with what it means to be a follower of Christ or what it means to be an American.

We acknowledge and share the deep grief felt by Jewish and Muslim people at the escalating cycle of violence that is consuming the Holy Land. Indeed, we believe God weeps with us and all who suffer. The massacre of more than 1300 Israelis by Hamas on October seventh shocks our most fundamental sense of humanity and moral right. The escalating war being waged by Israel in Gaza has cost more than ten thousand lives, with no sign of ceasing in its destructiveness. We fear that a new generation of hatred is being born which will cripple any pathway for a just and lasting peace.

The twin hatreds of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, so embedded in our history and so vicious in their virulence and poison, have now been awakened once again in our own land. A six-year-old Muslim boy is murdered in Chicago because of his faith. An elderly Jewish man is killed at a protest in Thousand Oaks. Jewish students are harassed and threatened on university campuses, and every Jewish family knows firsthand a deepened fear of discrimination and violence that echoes past horrors. Increasingly, Muslims on campus and in society as a whole are indiscriminately labeled as terrorists within American society. Even here in San Diego County, these hatreds are present and growing with actions of hatred against Jewish and Muslim houses of worship and anti-Semitic and Islamophobic actions in schools. Children who witness such acts of hatred may grow up without a sense of the American and religious commitment to the human dignity and respect due to all people.

Here in the San Diego area, we call on all people of faith to stand with us and our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters to oppose hate, to console one another in their suffering, to protect and support the innocent, to listen to each other’s experiences, to pray for an end to violence in the Middle East, and to work for a just and lasting peace in the land that all three of our religious traditions cherish so deeply.

In Faith,

Robert Cardinal McElroy, Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego

The Rev. David C. Nagler, Bishop of the Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

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Category: #Bishop's Blog

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9 replies to “People of Faith, Stand with Us

  1. Marian Gaston | on November 8, 2023

    Thank you.

  2. Dawn Stary | on November 8, 2023

    I love this! And I appreciate that all three bishops came together to write this. It is a beautiful sign of unity during this challenging time of strife. I especially appreciate that they called out anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I am curious why the message does not mention our fellow Christians in Israel and Palestine who are impacted by the war, too.

    Thank you!

    Dawn

  3. The Rev. Canon Richard Lief | on November 8, 2023

    Dear Bishop Susan,

    I am grateful for for your leadership together with The Rev. David Nagler, and Robert Cardinal McElroy.
    Your combined call for the respect and dignity of all persons is much needed in our chaotic world. I pray that many people will heed your call.

    Richard Lief

  4. David Madsen | on November 8, 2023

    A well written and prophetic article capturing our fears and hopes for the present and future. Communication like this enriches dialogue, healing and unity.
    A well deserved ‘thank you’ for interfaith leaders initiating prophetic witness.

  5. Jane D. Batarseh | on November 8, 2023

    I am a practicing Episcopalian at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego, a congregation inclusive, informed, and compassionate, who have welcomed my family in all its diversity. My husband’s family is an 800-year- old Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox presence in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. My son-in-law is from an equally ancient Moslem family in Hebron. My first cousin is married to a woman from an ancient Iraqi-Jewish family. We live in close communication with each other since we have had relatives and close friends from all three faiths, who have died in this odious military action. My daughter has a close friend, the artist Hebe Zagout, who was killed in Gaza along with her two small children. We fear for our families in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Hebron, who are being attacked with impunity as the focus understandinly remains on the carnage in Gaza. Our President justly bemoans the deaths in Ukraine, while the very same sentiments aptly describe the mass slaughter in Gaza. I would encourage all Americans to heed the voices of peace, justice and faith from those living in Israel and Palestine. Our Episcopal Archbishop Hosam Nouam at St. George’s in East Jerusalem deserves our prayers. The grim reality on the ground in Palestine must be addressed for Jews and Muslims, but also for those Palestinian Christians, the living rocks of faith.

  6. Rev. Wayne F. Sanders | on November 8, 2023

    Thanks to all three of you for making the beautiful words of faith that supports all three of our faith communities, we appreciate your speaking for all of us!

  7. Ann Judge | on November 8, 2023

    Thank you!

  8. Sharon Obuchon-Staub | on November 10, 2023

    Many Orthodox Jews are against the Israeli bombardments. Historically, anti-Zionist.

  9. Mary Wilmer | on November 10, 2023

    Beautifully written. I pray for all people who are suffering from this terrible catastrophe.

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