Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington released the following statement on the fatal shooting yesterday at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:
The tragic shooting yesterday at the Holocaust Museum in downtown Washington should remind us that murderous prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism simmers beneath the surface in this country and abroad, inspiring embittered individuals to violent acts.
The Christian Church bears a special responsibility for the scourge of anti-Semitism. And while it is true that James von Brunn, the alleged murderer who opened fire in the museum is not sympathetic to our faith, Christians must nonetheless acknowledge the shameful role our Church has played in developing this hateful ideology down through the centuries, and work always for mutual understanding, for reconciliation and for peace.
Stephen Tyrone Johns, the steadfast security guard who died at the museum, laid down his life to protect visitors to that sacred space. I ask that all of our churches commemorate his heroic self-sacrifice by including a special prayer for Mr. Johns, his family and friends in their Eucharistic celebrations this Sunday.
I extend my deepest sympathies to the Jewish community here in the nation’s capitol and beyond. They have witnessed an act of murderous anti-Semitic violence in a place dedicated to ending such violence and honoring its millions of victims. I can only imagine the pain this incident will cause Holocaust survivors, their descendants and their friends, and the fear, anxiety and profound frustration it must provoke in members of the Jewish faith who must live with the knowledge that ancient hatreds survive in our modern world.
Let each of us through prayer, acts of kindness and demonstrations of solidarity do what is in our power to help heal the wounds opened by this murderous act.