by Mike Yoder, Executive Director, Associated Ministries
Our hearts are grieved by recent court decisions and administration policies that foster “other-ness.” We believe we are all called to love our neighbor, to “do unto others as we would do for ourselves,” so we are encouraged when we see Pierce County’s communities of faith come together as a presence of peace and to stand for justice.
Most recently, local spiritual leaders who advocate for the free and open practice of religion in society have shared a strong and public condemnation of the hateful beliefs and actions which targeted the Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Center on Friday, June 22 (as reported in the Tacoma News Tribune and aired on KING-5). This group is calling upon the people of Pierce County to commit anew to create a community in which all people, of all faiths and cultures, are welcome as neighbors and friends; and to work together to create a community in which hate crimes such as this are not only not acceptable but are no longer a part of who we are. They have created a call-to-action petition “A Call to Rise Against Faith-Based Hate in Pierce County” (sign today at this link) as well as a GoFundMe effort to help repair damage at the Buddhist Center.
A practical tool that enables local faith leaders to support one other during a time of crisis, such as the recent incident at the Buddhist Center, is maintained by AM. Through this emergency response alert system, a text message is sent in the event that a local faith community is threatened with a hate crime or violence and is asking for other congregations to lend support. To join the Pierce County Faith Leaders’ Emergency Response Network, text the keyword PCFAITHRESPONSE to 80123 and you will be automatically subscribed. For more information contact Sandy Windley at AM at (253) 426-1506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May we all continue to do whatever we can to promote a narrative of peace and hope in Pierce County, one that is very different than so much of the national dialogue, in which people of faith stand unanimously against hatred and bigotry and for the vulnerable amongst us.