The Church Council of Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay wishes to express our concern about the growth of prejudice and intolerance toward the Muslim faith communities in our country.
Recent comments have preyed upon the fears of many of our citizens. In reality, terrorism, extremism and attacks on innocent people are in direct contrast to the teachings of Islam. Islam teaches peace, compassion and justice for every human being and holds life sacred.
We wish to make it known that we stand for equal religious freedom and opportunity for all people. It is imperative that we, as a faith community, make our voices of tolerance and compassion heard and we urge others to join us in voicing their support of religious freedom.
We are reminded of the words of German pastor and theologian Martin Niemöller who wrote of a previous era of intolerance:
“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Finally they came for me and there was no one left to speak out.”
We support people of God everywhere who reject terrorism and work instead for peace. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in faith who are Islamic and pledge to do all in our power to protect them from discriminatory laws, acts of violence, intimidation and social isolation.
We call upon other people of faith to do the same.
At Hope Church, we are planning an event to learn more about Islam. Representatives from the Islamic Society of Wisconsin – Green Bay Masjid will visit our church. In turn, we will travel to the Islamic Society in an equal expression of respect. The event will be open to the public and we welcome our wider community to join us.
Rev. Richard Feyen, Holly Feldman, Eric Vollrath, Steve Graf, Carol Weis, Ann Jinkins and Ann Quale
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.