Sadly, the fear that has gripped many people in recent weeks has led to an alarming resurgence of anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, and to public statements and actions that put our Muslim brothers and sisters at risk. For all those who are concerned about this, it is time to stand together as people of diverse faith and to express our solidarity in every way that we can. We have started the conversation about how we can do this as a congregation, and I urge each of you to pursue this in your own way, as well. One of the campaigns that has drawn my attention and support over the past year has been the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign that is supported by our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can learn about this by visiting the website at www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org
Shoulder-to-Shoulder is an interfaith organization dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment by strengthening the voice of freedom and peace. In their mission statement, they say: “We call upon our fellow citizens to treat each other with compassion and honesty, and to foster an ethical commitment to bedrock American values such as pluralism and religious freedom, mutuality and respect—values also at the core of our religious traditions.” Look for more conversation around this issue at St. Mark’s in the weeks and months ahead, and feel free to talk with your pastors about your concerns and your ideas for engagement. Peace be with you!
Pastor Jan Ruud