“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”
We, the members of the Miami faith community and like-minded organizations, join together in solidarity on the side with those who promote pluralism, embrace diversity and advance respect among all cultures, religions and races.
We unanimously denounce the racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry openly expressed in Charlottesville, Virginia, by the neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and anti-Semitic groups which organized the events. We firmly reject any attempt to claim a moral equivalency between these groups and the protesters who stood strongly against them
The shared values of our Abrahamic faiths call upon us to stand together and speak out for justice. If we do not, who else will? Islamic tradition teaches us: “God loves those who are just” (Surah al-Mumtahana).
German pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), who survived seven years in a Nazi concentration camp, said it clearly: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We pray for the families of Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, whose lives were taken, as well as with the many who were injured by the hate-driven violence. We also pray for an end to any further trauma that may afflict targeted communities. Words and actions motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry have no place in our great democracy. And while we hope that calls to condemn racism and violence will serve as a deterrent for future marches, we will continue to stand in solidarity to speak out against hatred and extremism whenever and wherever they occur. At this critical time, let us renew our commitment to stand together — people of all faiths — and to work ever more passionately for inclusion, equity, and justice for all.
The mission of the MCCJ Clergy Dialogue, the oldest continuous interfaith dialogue group in the United States, is to offer wisdom and solace in difficult times and provide a safe and supportive environment to discuss areas of difference and conflict. This expresses the philosophy of all of us in the faith community, standing in solidarity while promoting inclusion and building community.
Rev. Wilifred Allen-Faiella is rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove. Rabbi Moshe Tom Heyn is the spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Greater Miami. They wrote this on behalf of MCCJ Clergy Dialogue, Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Archdiocese of Miami, The Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami, The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board, Anti-Defamation League, Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, and AJC Miami and Broward.