Letter: We must speak out against hateful rhetoric and violence

March 21, 2019

Our hearts are grieved over the unspeakable loss of lives from the mass shootings that occurred in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last Friday, March 15, 2019. In addition to the incredible loss of life, the shooter left a lengthy manifesto in which he stated he wanted to “directly reduce immigration rates to European lands” and praised President Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

This concerns us, and as people of faith, we must speak out against hateful rhetoric, racism, violence, and Islamophobia. We stand with our Muslim neighbors in Winona and across the world. We also urge you to reach out to our Muslim neighbors to ask how you might offer solidarity and support.

While there is much fear and anger in our world, we trust that there is also much compassion and that “goodness is stronger than evil and love is stronger than hate,” as Bishop Desmond Tutu once said. Finally, in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

In love and peace, we sign,

Rev. Corrine Haulotte; Debi Niebuhr; Trish Johnson, Dharma River Zen Community; Tom Parlin; Nicole Weydt; Rosine Tenenbaum, Professor Emeritus WSU; Jean Lauer, Spiritual Life Companion, Heartwisdom Center for Consciousness, Compassion & Creativity; Julie Johnston, Baha’i Faith; Rev. Rachel Riggle, Grace Presbyterian; Barb Klink; Jim and Karin Worthley; Rev. Paul Kisho Stern, Zen Garland Dharma River Zen Community; Julie Prondzinski; Beth Halleck; Pastor Robert Hicks; Pastor Tori Hicks; Dwayne Voegli, Winona Interfaith Council; Rev. Danielle K. Bartz; Frank and Ruth Bures; Dick Dahl; Betty and Brian Singer-Towns, Winona Interfaith Council; Bryon Bothun; Ahmed El-Afandi,, Islamic Center of Winona; Steve and Nancy Bachler; Barb Nagel; Mark Hecht; Shaker Elsabbagh; Mary Hansel Parlin; Richard Ricker; Bhaskar Iyengar; Rev. Jeff Franko; Rev. Mark Dumke