Faith Leaders Denounce White Supremacy and Call Administration to Welcome Immigrants

August 8, 2019

National Faith Organizations Denounce White Supremacy in the Wake of the El Paso Shooting and Call on the Administration to Welcome Immigrants

The Rev. Teresa (Terri) Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, was among the faith leaders.  See her statement below. 

Washington, D.C. (Aug. 7, 2019) —  In the wake of the El Paso shooting linked to escalating xenophobic and racist rhetoric against immigrants, faith leaders of national organizations from multiple traditions responded by denouncing racism and white supremacism while calling on the Trump administration to renounce its dangerous anti-immigrant policy agenda.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights: “President Trump and his supporters, who have incited and inflamed hatred toward minorities, bear direct responsibility for this wave of white nationalist violence, based in hatred of Jews, immigrants, and people of color. “The prophet Isaiah scolded, ‘Though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.’ Thoughts and prayers mean nothing from those who have helped sparked this bloodshed.” 

Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: “The horror of the mass shooting in El Paso rips the fabric of our society. To end gun violence in America, we need to be truthful about the source of this depravity: racism and guns! We cannot hesitate to counter racism anywhere, but especially when it comes from the Oval Office. White supremacy and xenophobia are sinful and direct contradictions to my Catholic faith. Additionally, our nation is inundated with weapons of war. We must act to get these weapons off our streets and get hate out of our public discourse. Only once we address these root causes will we be able to staunch this violence. Let us act now!”

Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women:
“The senseless murders in El Paso are the latest in a series of mass violence driven by white supremacy, which has festered in our nation since its founding and has driven the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-asylee policies. These extreme policies are designed to rile up the president’s political base, regardless of their human cost. We’ve now seen that cost: 20 people killed and dozens injured. Violent acts will not deter our support of all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who come to our country and our border seeking better lives. Instead, they only strengthen our resolve to live our Jewish values and welcome the stranger. The National Council of Jewish Women, on behalf of 90,000 members and supporters, calls on Congress to pass sensible gun safety laws immediately and the administration to cease its violence-inspiring racist rhetoric.”

Salam Al-Marayati, President and Co-Founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC): 

“Hate and bigotry of any kind have no place in our country. The senseless murders in El Paso are another unfortunate example of how divisive rhetoric against marginalized communities instigates brutal violence. We must come together and take a stand against white supremacist ideology. Prophet Muhammad said, ‘Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.’ The very least we can do is use our collective voice to demand action from our elected officials to fight against the evil that is threatening the very fabric of our nation.” 

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of Franciscan Action Center:

“We should all be outraged at the horrific acts of violence in El Paso and the apparent accompanying manifesto with its racist theology.  Christians should be angry that their faith their religion has been hijacked by leaders preaching a Gospel of hatred and fear.  We must call out the racist hateful rhetoric of our political and religious leaders. But we must also challenge those who bury their heads and remain silent. To remain silent is to give tacit approval.  It is well past the time for a serious national conversation about our complicity in racism and bigotry, and our acceptance of a culture of violence that fans the flames of white nationalism. You cannot claim the mantel of Christianity while remaining silent when our leaders like President Trump proclaim hateful racist statements.”

Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ:

“As we reflect on the mass shootings in El Paso & Dayton, the United Church of Christ has a moral obligation to condemn the hateful, dehumanizing rhetoric and discrimination against immigrants in this country. As an Immigrant Welcoming Church, we are called to love our neighbors and denounce discriminatory acts that further white supremacist ideologies. A direct correlation can be drawn from the dangerous language in the national discourse to these senseless hate crimes. We call on the administration to reject and turn away from their anti-immigrant policies so they might begin to understand the true nature of love for all of God’s children.”

Rev. Teresa (Terri) Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada:  

“It has happened again.  Horrific shootings in public places that should be safe for all, and just five days after I was honored to stand in solidarity with other faith leaders in El Paso to call attention to the inhumane treatment of refugees and migrants at the borderlands of El Paso.  All indications are that the violence was triggered by white nationalist rhetoric.  Until we are committed to human flourishing for all, and safety for all, we will continue to ignore the urgency of gun control legislation.  Beware of morally bankrupt decisions to say that gun violence, facilitated by access to weapons that have no business on the streets, is not a priority.  Silence suggests that something else is more important, but we have to make it clear that we will not stand by and be silent.  May the laments be deafening until we stand and do the right thing.”

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, San Francisco Area, The United Methodist Church:

“In responding to human suffering, the needs of those who suffer should be paramount.  The people of El Paso, Texas, a border community deeply afflicted by outside forces of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment, have said that a visit from Trump is not what they need.  They have been clear in respectfully requesting that instead of visiting them, Trump should stay home and reflect on his blatant and abhorrent contributions to a culture of racism, White Nationalism, and xenophobia.   Trump should receive their respectful request with humility and do the right thing by honoring their request.   Any insistence on his part to visit El Paso is cruel hypocrisy.”

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of 52 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants.

Contact: Bilal Askaryar | | 202-750-0960