The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania joins with our fellow American citizens, and especially those peace-loving people of faith, in condemning the violence which took place on Saturday, August 12th, in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is horrifying to see peaceful protestors being attacked by those whose message is filled with hate and racism.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Heather Heyer (and her family and friends) who died when she was hit by a vehicle driven by a man whose aim was to cause further chaos and mayhem.
We also remember in prayer the two Virginia state troopers: Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates (and their families and friends) who were killed when their police helicopter crashed while attempting to monitor the intensifying situation on the ground.
We call upon communities all over the Commonwealth to hold Gatherings of Unity and for all people to come together to renounce and denounce hatred.
We see it has been clearly demonstrated now that some white supremacists are prepared even to kill in order to perpetuate the memory of the Confederacy.
We call for a recognition that the Confederacy of 1860 to 1865 fought against the United States of America and fought for prejudice and slavery. By definition therefore the Confederacy was treasonous and racist.
We call for recognition that memory of the Confederacy is all too often perpetuated by a desire to promote a racist order in America meant to deny rights to people of color and all people not of European Protestant heritage. For all these reasons we conclude it is beyond time for monuments to the Confederacy to be moved out of the public square. They do not represent who we are or who we want to be.
We call for training by all people of good will on best practices for confronting white supremacist protests in ways which counter hatred yet do not lead to violence which only serves the purposes of those who hate. We recommend especially for consideration by all the work of the Community Responders' Network of Pennsylvania's Capital Region in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (
WE call upon all societal leaders - from the President of the United States on down - to denounce explicitly all acts of hate and all groups which promote hatred and division in our society. We do this in the name of all the faith traditions we represent in our community, and as people of faith and good will.
The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania abhors violence of any kind, and we consistently seek to find ways to insure that incidents like these never happen again, especially in our own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We stand solidly arm-in-arm alongside all groups and organizations who work for peace; we support their efforts and we offer our assistance in any way possible.
May all hate-filled acts and rhetoric end immediately, and may there be peace in our homes, in our communities, in our country, and in our world."