We, the members of the Johns Creek Interfaith Alliance, a group of clergy and religious leaders representing houses of worship in Johns Creek, express our deepest sorrow at the news of the shootings this past week in Gilroy, Calif., El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. These horrific acts of violence are, tragically, only the latest in a long line of acts of violence and terror, coming from a place of hate and prejudice, that have afflicted places of public gathering, schools, businesses, churches, mosques and synagogues.
In the Hebrew Bible, we read: “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you and you said, ‘Do not fear’” (Lamentations 3:55-57).
The New Testament recalls the teaching of Jesus who said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-40).
The Quran teaches us that “whoever kills a soul...it is as if he had slain humankind entirely, and whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved humankind entirely” (5:32)
It is our belief that because our trust in God is a major part of the equation in bringing good into the world, we must be partners, not only in belief but also in action. This action is based upon our partnership with each other to be good, do good, and bring about goodness. For only if we take an active role in bringing healing and not harm into the world, will we be able to truly “love our neighbors as ourselves.” It is through this love that we will truly be able to bring peace to creation, spread the message of hope and justice that our traditions teach and work to see a day when all people will understand that each individual is created by and loved by God. It is through this love that we will be able to ascend from the pit and truly not fear.
May God comfort the mourners and bring healing to the wounded. Let us truly work together for the day when all of humankind can be saved from violence and hate. And as we offer this prayer, we call on our civic leaders as well as each individual to work for a day when we will no longer have to feel the scourge of violence in our communities.
The Johns Creek Interfaith Alliance
Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein, Naeem Mulla, the Rev. Brian Daoust, David Brewer, the Rev. Shaun King, the Rev. David White, Tareef Saeb, the Rev. Jim King, the Rev. Gray Norsworthy, the Rev. Neal Kuhlhorst and Imam Wali Allah Khan