BLOG 10/30/18. I SEND THIS BLOG THROUGH MY TEARS
The news of the massacre of the Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh brought me to tears. It was also sobering about the larger context of prejudice in this nation. I was, however, greatly heartened by the insightful and prophetic voice of the Jewish leaders of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, … to the president of the United States. Invoking their own Torah, they challenged him on his own culpability in creating a climate for such hate-crimes. It ought to be persuasive to all those followers of Jesus Christ who are being formed into his image. I quote their communication herewith:
“President Trump: Yesterday, a gunman slaughtered 11 Americans during Shabbat morning services. We mourn with the victims’ families and pray for the wounded. Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far. We are committed to healing as a community while we recommit ourselves to repairing our nation.
“For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.
“Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.
“The murderer’s last public statement invoked the compassionate work of the Jewish refugee service HIAS at the end of a week in which you spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America. He killed Jews in order to undermine the efforts of all those who find shared humanity with immigrants and refugees.
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.
“The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.
“This means all of us.
“In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God. While we cannot speak for all “Pittsburghers, or even all Jewish Pittsburghers, we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say:
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.”
Amen! The voice of bold wisdom out of the inescapable principles of Holy Scripture sent to the “principalities and powers” of this nation. God bless those leaders in these tear-filled days.