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Sunday, August 5, 2012

SAFETY FOR WORSHIPERS


"Six Sikhs killed in Temple. Somewhere between 20 and 30 shot or injured." Whether Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians or worshipers of any type, all people MUST be able to worship in safety. My heart is heavy for the families, friends and fellow worshipers who lost loved ones. All of us of who consider ourselves people of faith must condemn the attack of worshipers. All of us who love freedom must make our voices heard.

I cannot deny that as a deeply committed Christian and strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere, when I first heard the news flash of a “Temple” mentioned with “several killed,” I was surprised to learn that it was Sikhs who were attacked. I was sure that it would be a Jewish Temple or a Christian Church. But really, does it matter? Not for those of us who believe in religious freedom. It is claimed that there have been hundreds of attacks against Sikhs sine 9/11/2001. Sikhs don't practice the same religion as Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims. Should Sikhs be murdered because they favor Muslims? But does what they look like matter at all? Should Muslim worshippers be attacked? Absolutely not! Under no circumstances should any worshipers, anywhere, ever be attacked as they gather in worship.

I hope that these shootings were not religiously motivated, but even if not, the fact that worshipers of any stripe can be attacked as they gather should provoke all of us to work to keep this from happening.

Now is the time for us to stand up for those who wish to worship in safety and peace. No place in the world faces greater concern for the safety of worshipers than those charged with the care and safety of Jerusalem. No city on earth gathers more religious pilgrims from three major religions than the Holy City. Therefore we must obey the command of God and pray for peace. Peace for worshipers everywhere. Peace for the families and friends of those who suffered loss this day in Wisconsin.

And above all, today let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.