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Statement of Support

Westchester Interfaith Clergy

Statement on Hate


“If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”

These are the words of Harbhajan Singh, a member of the Sikh religion from Pakistan. This message voices the universal declaration of all religions: We belong to one human family. When any of us experiences joy, all of us share in that joy. And when any of us experiences pain, all of us share in that pain.

Today, we are in pain. We, clergy of many different religions and denominations, good and true neighbors, affirm our common love for every man, woman and child on this planet. As one, we condemn the bomb threats which were made against two Jewish Community Center facilities in Westchester. While we are grateful that no one was hurt, we denounce the hatred that has been unleashed on our neighbors.

Sadly, this is only the most recent of aggressive, intolerant acts that have been perpetrated against different groups across our nation. In the polarized atmosphere that now pervades our country, we are not surprised such threats have arrived to Westchester. It was only a matter of time.

As a community of diverse houses of worship, we embrace the highest ideals of respect and consideration for everyone. We call upon our local and national leaders to renew America’s promise as a nation that was built by people from every conceivable land and ethnicity. We implore those who have the ears of this nation’s citizens to affirm that bigotry will never be permitted to blot out tolerance, understanding and goodwill.

America is so much better than this. We must all be better than this. How we treat those whose religion is different, whose skin color is different, whose nation of origin is different, whose sexual or gender identity is different — this will determine the stature of our humanity and our citizenship.

What we see is unacceptable and we pledge to work with each other and within our communities to create bonds that are based upon mutual respect and love.

America was founded on the principle that we could all build this nation together. Our shared religious perspective would put it this way: God wants us to reject intolerance. God longs for us to embrace each other. God waits for us to open our doors, and in one simple, loving gesture, to proclaim, “You will always be welcome here.”

Signed (in alphabetical order),

Rev. John F. Backe Trinity Lutheran Church White Plains NY

Rev. Dr. Deborah Blanks Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church White Plains, NY

The Rev. Tami L. Burks St. Thomas Episcopal Church Mamaroneck, NY

Chappaqua Interfaith Council Chappaqua, NY

The Reverend Samuel T. Clover The Reformed Church of Bronxville Bronxville, NY

Rabbi Fredda Cohen W