To the Editor:
As clergy and people of faith, we are dismayed by the recent shooting of three young Palestinian men in Burlington. No one should have to live in fear of violence while simply walking down the street speaking one’s native language and wearing the traditional clothing of one’s people. While the motive of the shooter is still being investigated, we are heartbroken for our Palestinian neighbors that they must live in fear and trepidation in our own Vermont communities because of who they are and where they come from.
Our faith traditions call on us to live in God’s love by extending welcome to all, loving our neighbors, and protecting the stranger. With anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment alive and growing, we urge that we all affirm and proclaim the full humanity and dignity of Palestinian people.
We also share our concern for the highly polarized political environment that is leading too many people in our community to disregard the humanity of others with whom they disagree and whose life experiences they do not fully understand. We denounce all hatred and, in this moment, especially all Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Arab words and actions.
We pray for the growth of compassion and the resolve to find paths toward a peaceful and just coexistence. There is no other way if we are to survive than to love and honor the fullness of our humanity and the divine light within each of us.
Board of Directors, Beth Jacob Synagogue, MontpelierRev. Amy Pitton, Bethany United Church of Christ, MontpelierRev. Beth Ann Maier, Christ Episcopal Church, MontpelierRev. Earl Kooperkamp, Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal), BarreRev. Rae Fraumann, Hedding United Methodist Church, BarreRev. Rameen W. Zahed, The Old Meeting House of East MontpelierRev. Kenzan Seidenberg, Shao Shan Temple, East CalaisRev. Sinu Je, Trinity United Methodist Church, MontpelierRev. Joan Javier-Duval, Unitarian Church of MontpelierRev. Seiso Paul Cooper, Zen Realizational Community, MontpelierGot an opinion? Send your letter of no more than 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference given to local readers; letters may be edited for style or length.