We are continuing to add to this post. Statements are excerpted and linked below.
From the Rt. Rev. Diana D Akiyama, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon:
“I am filled with deep sorrow over the shootings in Atlanta. When I first heard the news, I was speechless. It has taken me a while to find the words because my first reaction was to weep and wail. What followed after silence and prayer, was a petition to God for the troubled man with the gun. For peace to replace the violence in his heart. For love to replace his indifference to human life. For healing to replace his broken spirit. For a relationship with one kind person to replace the demons that torment him. And I also pray that we will, each of us, take the practice of prayer seriously because, without prayer, we begin to believe that the demons are ‘out there’ needing to be slayed. In fact, the most deadly demons are within. Let us pray to God to be liberated from our fears. Let us pray to God to become each others beloved in Christ so that our alienation is no more. Let us then, with authentic hope, say to one another, ‘the Peace of Christ be always with you.’”
Today, we stand in solidarity with our Asian siblings, and we are committed to reach out to them, offering kindness and love, so that we can become The Beloved Community. Acts of racial hatred need to end NOW.
From the Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Canon Missioner and Minister for Equity and Inclusion at Washington National Cathedral
From Canon Missioner @LLHSR after two shootings in one week:
"We could live differently, but as a nation we choose not to. Until we summon the collective will to fight this problem, Americans will continue to die from gun violence."https://t.co/RlU06z4nTa pic.twitter.com/hhfBNZVTol
— Washington National Cathedral (@WNCathedral) March 23, 2021
From Dean Randy Hollerith of Washington National Cathedral:
“…what we do know is that words matter — and that hateful words can lead to violent consequences. How we talk about our neighbors on God’s good Earth is just as important as how we treat them.
“And when our words are used to demean and dehumanize, it’s not long before our actions can follow.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed its fury on our global community, too many were too quick to label it as the ‘China Virus’ or ‘Kung flu.’ Soon after, our Asian American neighbors were subjected to slurs, attacks and ugly discrimination. Neighborhoods were targeted, businesses were closed and even children were ostracized.
“As America continues to wrestle with its original sin of racism, each of us must remain vigilant. How we speak about the ‘other’ — other races or ethnicities, other genders, other sexual orientations or other beliefs — shapes not only our souls but also our actions.”
From the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia:
“We must also pray, especially for our Asian and Asian American siblings against whom hate crimes in US cities has risen 150% since the pandemic began. God give our family members comfort and hope in this time of fear. God strengthen us to claim our high calling to be instruments of God’s peace in this beautiful and broken world.”
From Bishop Greg Brewer, of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida:
It is clear that the murders of Asian women in Atlanta has become the gateway for many to see the pattern of racial mistreatment of Asians that has been there all along. Pray that we can renounce the demonic power of racial prejudice and, by grace, become God’s people who serve.
— Greg Brewer (@revgregbrewer) March 19, 2021
From Bishop Greg Rickel, of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia:
“As Christian leaders and bishops, we are particularly disturbed that the alleged shooter’s Christian faith is reported to have fueled his desire to murder the women in massage spas whom he believed were sexual temptations. It grieves us that the Christian faith we profess can be twisted and deformed in ways that give rise to violence, particularly to gun violence, by white Christian men against women and people of color. Christian churches, regardless of theology or denomination, must explicitly reject the idea that God wants Christian men to dominate or kill other human beings. Such is not the way of Jesus. Such is not the way of love.”
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, quoted in the Episcopal News Service:
“… on March 18, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a statement about the killings.
‘Wherever and whenever hatred or bigotry rises up and is directed at any child of God, we who follow Jesus of Nazareth and therefore stand for love, must act,’ he said. ‘We must stand up, speak up and show up. Today we do so with and for our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers, sisters and siblings.’”
From the Very Rev Steven L Thomason, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral of Seattle:
“Whatever the motives, and whatever other ‘isms’ may be involved in this mass murder, it is evident that these were racially motivated hate crimes targeting Asian women. What’s more, I have heard from Asian Americans in the Saint Mark’s community in the last 24 hours expressing a real fear for their lack of safety in this time—and yes, in this place…in Seattle where we have heard accounts of violence against Asian Americans precipitated by an insidious xenophobia seeking to lay blame for a viral pandemic. This is not an issue for a city in the Deep South—it is an epidemic that has swept the nation, and lurks in our midst as well—right here, right now.”
It is hard to know what to decry first in the toxic stew of racism, misogyny, religious violence, and gun culture. Most basic, perhaps, is the fact that the alleged killer bought his weapon just hours before the attacks began. The sale was entirely legal, showing yet again that standards for gun purchasing and ownership across our nation are far too lenient. Day after day, innocent people pay the price.”
Photo Credit: Mike Labrum on Unsplash