Transform Minnesota vigorously condemns the attack and killing of 49 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in New Zealand today. Christians often challenge other religious leaders to condemn acts of violence committed in the name of their religion. Today we Christians stand and condemn this act of violence against Muslims, even prior to fully understanding the motivation of the shooter.
“We raise our voice against all kinds of religious intolerance and hatred – regardless of the particular faith of the victims,” said Carl Nelson, President of Transform Minnesota. “Religious freedom and liberty of conscience are foundational aspects of human rights and human dignity. Religious violence, such as this attack on Muslims in New Zealand, is an egregious assault on religious freedom for all of us.”
But we are not free to condemn this violence from afar without also acknowledging recent acts of violence perpetrated by our fellow citizens against Muslims, Jews and other Christians here in our own state and nation. Among them are the 2017 fire bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, MN; the 2018 killing of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; and the 2015 shooting of nine Black worshipers at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. We confess that religious intolerance is more familiar than we admit.
We believe that every human life from conception to natural death bears the image of God and has inestimable worth. This belief requires that we stand for the protection of people of all faiths and those of no faith. Transform Minnesota calls on Christians to examine our attitudes towards other religions, to challenge the rhetoric of the social groups to which we belong, and to root out any traces of religious intolerance or dehumanization that exist in our own lives or spheres of influence.