“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) “By love alone is hatred ended, this is an eternal law.“ (Dhammapada 1:5)
Statement Against Discrimination and Injustice
As people of faith we condemn in the strongest terms the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. We stand together and open our hearts to the suffering of our brothers. We want everyone who reads this to know, “Your life matters to us!” We work for justice through education, prayer, and reconciliation. We will not stop until there is justice for all people.
The deeper pain, however, is that this was not an isolated incident. Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was shot by Louisville Police officers serving a “no-knock warrant” (March 13, 2020). Dreasjon Reed, of Indianapolis was shot by an Indianapolis Police officer (May 6, 2020). And now George Floyd has been killed by police in Minneapolis while begging for his life (May 25, 2020). It’s not just history, but it has sadly become a part of the fabric of American life.
We are people of faith. Commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as spiritual people. This good work is happening in communities of faith. Now more than ever, it is our duty to champion justice. We also champion peace and support peaceful protest with its outpouring of accumulated frustration. For too long it has seemed that few cared when another black, brown or poor life was snuffed out. We seek true and sustained justice.
This must be sustained even when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front page news. Even when the work is not fashionable, ever difficult, and we are utterly alone. Putting our faith into action, despite color, class, or caste, is difficult. We pledge to continue until no one is degraded and disrespected by anybody. We will continue until this ultimate dream is realized. Violence against even one child of Earth cannot be condoned.
We follow another way … the way of love. Love is action as well as attitude. Love seeks the good, the well-being, and the welfare of others as well as one’s self. Out of love we listen and learn from marginalized communities, who are often suppressed. We call on all faith leaders to incorporate this grand vision of justice into personal and community prayer life, and to constructively engage in advocacy and public witness of our brothers and sisters who suffer.
Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. Our spiritual work is not a sprint, but a marathon. Our prayer and work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us all recommit ourselves to following the teachings and values of our faith communities and lead the way to healing, justice and love.
Nevada Interfaith Association Coordinating Council,
Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church, Rev. Sarah Johnson, NIA President and Pastor, Sparks, NV
A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pat Meidell, NIA Treasurer
A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pam Kellerstrass, NIA Sec
Sherman Baker, Chaplain (Colonel) Retired US Army
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Rev. Dr. William L. Stomski, Dean, Reno, NV
St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, Father Chuck Durante, Rector, Reno, NV
Reno Buddhist Center, Rev. Matthew Fisher, Resident Priest, Reno, NV
Northern Nevada Muslim Community, Dr. Sherif Elfass, President, Sparks, NV
Hindu statesman, Rajan Zed, Reno, NV
Baha’I, Dr Bradley Corbin
Nevada Interfaith Association Coordinating Council