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August 16, 2017, 2:50 PM

SF Faith Leaders Stand United Against Hate in Charlottesville and Our Backyard

The statement below was released by the San Francisco Interfaith Council, a URI Cooperation Circle. It is a powerful statement about valuing diversity, standing up against hate and acting on behalf of love and justice.

"Yesterday, I returned to San Francisco from Rwanda to the news of the terror and atrocities in Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States," says Victor Kazanjian, URI's Executive Director. "A day ago I was in a country (Rwanda) recovering from civil war and genocide and aspiring to build a society with “Unity in Diversity” as its central ethic. Today, I am in a country (the United States) whose motto “E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One” is being made a mockery of by a president encouraging his country to relive its civil war as he promotes division and hate among its citizens."

"Principle 7 of the URI Charter states, "We seek and welcome the gift of diversity and model practices that do not discriminate." The Preamble of URI's Charter calls us to action in moments such as these. "We unite to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community."

May we as people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and Indigenous traditions throughout the world unite to confront the politics of hate wherever it may appear and work tirelessly to promote cultures of peace, justice and healing throughout the world."

SF Faith Leaders Stand United Against Hate in Charlottesville and Our Backyard

August 15, 2017 , San Francisco -- First and foremost, we offer our prayers for the victims and the families of the dead in Charlottesville, Virginia and all who were traumatized by the hateful violence that ensued there.

Sometimes when horrific and deadly acts are perpetrated in the name of hate, such as our nation witnessed on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, we are tempted to limit those incidents to the context in which they occurred. Charlottesville is a place intimately identified with our nation's painful and divisive Civil War history, and it is easy to think that such an event could only happen in that region of the country. Sadly, what happened in Charlottesville is symptomatic of an unprecedented growth of organized hate in our nation that knows no geographic boundaries. We need look no further than the findings of a recent report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map )  to face the reality that 917 hate groups exist in the United States of America, 79 of which are found in California, and a significant number calling the Bay Area their home.

As statements and vigils decrying acts of hate and violence in Charlottesville flooded social and other media, a group calling itself "Patriot Prayer," actively petitioned to host back-to-back rallies in San Francisco's Crissy Field and Berkeley's Martin Luther King Park on August 26 and 27, respectively. The former is billed as "Patriot Prayer: Free Speech, Unity and Peace San Francisco," the latter, a "No to Marxism Rally."

As people of faith, we stand united to denounce those who use words such as "prayer," "unity" and "peace" to mask any agenda of hate, intolerance, and bigotry. In the days ahead, we will use the voices of faith communities - through prayer, the pulpit, and our communications networks - to educate and inform, and to fight racism, hatred, and bigotry wherever it may occur, particularly in our City of St. Francis. We will not step aside but will stand strong for our values of inclusivity, respect for all persons, and justice.

Kaushik Roy,  Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council


Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, San Francisco Muslim Community Center

Rev. Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez, Pastor, Jones United Methodist Church

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus,  Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of California 

Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Apostolic Church

Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute

The Rev. Sally Bingham, President, California Interfaith Power & Light

Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch-NAACP

Rev. Angela Brown, JD, Associate Pastor, GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice, Grace Cathedral

Rev. Staci Current, District Superintendent Bay District, CA-NV Annual Conference UMC

Sister Chandru Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF

Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale, Lead Pastor, St. Mark's Lutheran Church

Fred Fielding, Board President, Interfaith Center at the Presidio

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco 

Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director Emeritus, Board of Rabbis of No. California

Rev. Jisan Tova Green, San Francisco Zen Center

Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance

Deacon G.L. Hodge, Providence Baptist Church

The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA

Most Reverend William Justice, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of San Francisco

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative

Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council

Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco

Fr. Stephen Kyriacou, Dean, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Rev. Deborah Lee, (UCC) Program Director, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Rev. Junchol Lee, Senior Pastor, San Francisco Swedenborgian Church

Rev. Dr. James McCray, Jr., Executive Director, Tabernacle Community Development Corp.

Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

Rev. Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola, Pastor, Pine United Methodist Church

Abby Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council

Rev. Scott Quinn, Executive Director, Marin Interfaith Council

Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF

Moina Shaiq, President, Tri City Interfaith Council

Rita Shimmin, Executive Director, GLIDE Foundation

Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El

Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El

Stephanie Spencer, President, Eden Area Interfaith Council

Rev. Sadie Stone, Pastor, Bethany United Methodist Church

Swami Tattwamayananda, Minister, Vedanta Society of San Francisco

Rev. John Weems,  Pastor & Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church 

Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, Lead Pastor, GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church

The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young,  Dean, Grace Cathedral 

Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel

Congregation leaders are encouraged to share this message  with their congregants.

For additional information please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631



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