...love one another as I have loved you ~ John 15:12
June 20, 2015 — The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the PC(USA) joins its partners in faith and advocacy here at home and across the globe in condemning all forms of hatred, especially racial hatred that has resulted this week in terrorism and heinous killings in South Carolina. Sharing their statement below, we join our partners at FOSNA in praying and working for justice in our time.
Friends of Sabeel--North America (FOSNA) grieves with Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Our hearts go out to the church members and families of the nine victims of the cowardly, racist assault on a prayer meeting at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. Among those killed at the prayer meeting last evening was the church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a well-known advocate for racial justice in Charleston and throughout South Carolina. Rev. Pinckney was a state Senator and outspoken advocate for racial justice after the murder of an unarmed African American by a North Charleston police officer earlier this year. Emanuel Church, a strong presence for racial reconciliation throughout its history, was established in 1816 when African Americans were not welcomed in Charleston's white congregations.
We in FOSNA condemn this horrible attack, exposing once again a fundamental "sin" of our culture and American way of life. For too long we have simply tolerated the racism against our African American sisters and brothers. We in FOSNA pledge to increase our awareness, raise the level of our solidarity actions, and strive to look within ourselves for answers to the racism we witness and are inadvertently party to. We recognize the utter urgency of this issue and urge you, our friends and supporters, to join us in this journey of action, transformation, and healing.
We also note with sadness the torching of the famous Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by Zionist extremists. This is a terrible coincidence that merits our deepest attention and reflection, which mirrors the reciprocal solidarity among the black and Palestinian struggles. Many of us have visited this beautiful church where tradition says Jesus took a few loaves of bread and fish and blessed them, and they were multiplied to feed a crowd numbering several thousand. How tragic that our Christian sisters and brothers throughout the Holy Land find themselves increasingly insecure and their institutions more at risk. Israeli police discovered racist graffiti in Hebrew on the church wall that stated: "idols will be cast out - or destroyed." This misuse of a Hebrew prayer to justify a racist act of arson reflects the growing sickness found in elements of Israeli society today.
We urge FOSNA friends and supporters to reflect on our responsibilities as we struggle to unmask the racism here at home. Today's events challenge us to reflect on the conjoined Zionist and white supremacist infrastructure so evidently connecting the United States and Israel and to act accordingly.
May God give us courage and "sumud" (steadfastness) to stay the course on the journey toward justice, healing and peace.