Written by Don Byrd
[Update: Read the joint op-ed from Amanda Tyler, Rabbi Burton Visotzky, and Dr. Sayyid Syeed in The Hill: Together We Mourn, and We Commit Ourselves]
The entire country grieves with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community after the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our nation’s history on Saturday. It was not only a horrific episode of violence directed at the Tree of Life Synagogue; the assault struck at our most cherished freedoms.
The Baptist Joint Committee’s Amanda Tyler expressed this view in the immediate aftermath of the shooting
The BJC’s Amanda Tyler tweeted:
An attack on worshippers is an attack on
#religiousliberty. Like so many, I’m heartbroken, grieving this vicious act of violence & hatred. Lord have mercy. Prayers for #TreeofLife synagogue & all our sisters & brothers whose very existence is under threat. Love your neighbor.
Her response represented one of many faith leaders who spoke out in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters and against religious hatred of any kind. You can read statements from the leaders of the Shoulder to Shoulder faith community, including Tyler, at this blog post.
Other religious liberty voices included Charles Haynes, who tweeted:
We must wake up to the present danger and speak with one voice: no to anti-Semitism, no to white supremacy, no to racism, no to Islamophobia, no to hate.
And the Rabbinical Assembly wrote these important words in their statement:
One of the most important lessons that the Jewish people can teach the world is that an act of hate against one community is an act of hate against us all.
Indeed. We must be and we are united against hateful rhetoric and violence directed against any religious community. The right to exercise our religious beliefs free of fear must be protected, by our government and by us all.