Dear Fellow Congregants,
Recent events have indeed been troubling, from the threats between North Korea and our Administration to the recent deadly violence in Charlottesville. The time has come for calm. But calm does not mean to sweep things under the rug. Right now, there are well over a dozen letters, petitions, and statements in my inbox from organizations such as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; The Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement; Bend the Arc; and the Southern Poverty Law Center.I just signed this letter from the organization Faith in Public Life. While I may choose to sign other statements, I chose to sign this one first and share it with you for two reasons: 1) It gets the job done in an ecumenical way and without a lot of hype; and 2) It calls out white supremacy for what it is and demands, in no uncertain terms, both its condemnation and eradication, even, or especially, from our own White House. Below is the text of the letter and a link to the site should you wish to check out what they do and/or to sign the statement.
All human beings are created in the image of God. And yet in Charlottesville, Va., white hatred, intimidation, anti-Semitism and physical violence toward people of color and religious minorities was on bold display. The hateful rally of white supremacists organized by Richard Spencer, leader of the “alt-right,” has not only resulted in death and physical violence. It seeks to destroy the very soul of our nation.
White supremacist beliefs, whether they be expressed by the KKK, neo-Nazis, the alt-right or publications like Breitbart, are antithetical to our scripture and to America’s ideals.
Today we faith leaders call on all elected officials to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and the organizations that advance and seek to give it mainstream credibility. We call on President Trump to remove Steve Bannon and other supporters of the alt-right from his White House and stand against the racist policies they propose.
We are reminded of God’s call in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” One cannot serve God and embrace hate and inequality. One cannot be American and be silent when others would tear our values asunder.
We recognize that this is an American issue and call on all elected leaders to embrace our democracy and uphold our cherished values of the dignity and worth of every human soul. These values have brought America her finer moments, enabling us to end slavery and Jim Crow and to advance human dignity and civil rights for all.
Let us be clear that the America we know and love is the America that honors each and every human being as created in God’s image.