Cabinet Statements

Interfaith Response to Quebec City Shooting

Contact: Leslie Heberlie, Co-Executive Director
Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis
483 E. Lockwood Ave., Suite 107
St. Louis, MO 63119
314-918-2541  |  leslie@interfaithstl.org

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2017

The Interfaith Partnership of St. Louis and the 26 religious communities we represent mourn the loss of life at the Quebec City mosque on January 29, 2017.  We pray for the victims and their families, and offer our prayers of healing for the entire community wounded by this violence. We condemn this attack, like far too many other such attacks, made on our Muslim sisters and brothers. We continue to pray and will continue to work for the day when all of every faith can worship in peace and safety.

Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Chair
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Rev. Dr. David Greenhaw
United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Statement Imploring Civility During Election Season

CivilitySlider

August 15, 2016

Statement from the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership

 

One of the privileges of living in America is the opportunity to participate in the democratic
process either by candidacy, by putting forth ballot initiatives, or by voting. In recent years the tone and tenor of campaigns has coarsened and is stridently divisive.
We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, believe that political participation and the surrounding conversations need not be exercises in dehumanizing speech or action. While political positions can be in sharp contrast and partisan, respect for people is a bipartisan and universal principle all can agree upon.
We call upon our community to model civil discourse, and we challenge all candidates from municipal to the presidential level to present their issues and discontinue the practice of personal attacks. Every office holder is beholden to the betterment of the whole, with justice and fairness as universal principles of good governance. The current nature of divisive politics and the surrounding discordant atmosphere makes it difficult to unite or heal postelections.
Let us challenge the conventional wisdom that the public only responds to negative political messaging. This is in the best interest of all Americans.

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Cabinet Chair African Methodist Episcopal Church
Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Vice Chair The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Statement Condemning Islamophobia and anti-immigrant attitudes

In addition to offering our prayers for the people of Brussels and Ankara, both places recently rocked by terrorist attacks, we issue the following statement condemning Islamophobia and anti-immigrant attitudes:

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, condemn the rise of rhetoric which sharply contrasts with our ideals as Americans and as people of faith. We speak with clarity of heart against the troubling rise of Islamophobia and anti-immigration sentiments in our city and our country as a whole. In particular, we oppose any language that seeks to dehumanize and misrepresents the human dignity of persons in the Muslim community.  Likewise, we speak unitedly against any effort to denigrate any peaceful person or group because of their religion, ethnicity or skin color.

We have a wholly different view of our Muslim and immigrant friends than is being portrayed by this type of hateful speech. St. Louis is home to more than 90,000 Muslims, whose clergy and lay leaders are an integral part of our movement of interfaith solidarity. We exist in reciprocal and authentic relationship. We learn together; we pray together; we stand up together against hate. In November 2015, the first leaders to speak at our prayer service after the Paris attacks were Muslim imams. In January 2016, the Islamic Foundation of St. Louis opened their doors to a packed auditorium to offer hospitality, dialogue and mutual learning. Together, we continually strive to work for peace and the common good.  Unfortunately, our Muslim sisters and brothers have seen their religion seized by a network of terrorists. Rhetoric is on the rise that conflates these terrorists with the billions of peace-loving Muslims around the world.

Furthermore, our St. Louis community has welcomed refugees and immigrants to our civic, academic, business and faith communities. Interfaith Partnership has consistently advocated for policies and practices that value newcomers to our area. Our moral imperative is to welcome and care for those in need. Additionally, data shows that the true inclusion of non-native-born persons generates regional prosperity for all. Unfortunately, we are still hearing rhetoric that characterizes immigrants and refugees as a threat to our security and culture.

Language and practices that vilify innocent people are abhorrent, unjustified and unacceptable to us as people of faith and good will.

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Cabinet Chair
Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Cabinet Vice Chair

Interfaith Cabinet Response to the Ferguson Commission Report

This statement is issued in response to the Ferguson Commission Report “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” the document of research and recommendations issued by the Ferguson Commission on September 14, 2015.

Listening – really listening – is an act of love. And most often, love demands an active response.

We, the members of the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, welcome the report of the Ferguson Commission as the fruit of active and intense listening to a wide variety of voices. Some provide ample statistical evidence of the racial disparities that plague our St. Louis community, while others testify from their own experience to the painful effects that these disparities have had in their own lives.

The report challenges us to hear the voices of those who suffer under the current system and to respond to them. Together, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership pledges to do so, and we urge the St. Louis community as a whole to read this report, listen to these voices, be creative in responding to the challenges laid forth, and to work collaboratively to move forward.

While civic organizations and economic-development agencies have long pointed out the economic and social benefits of addressing racial segregation and inequality, we strongly affirm that people of faith have a moral obligation to address the disparities addressed in this report.

Our faith traditions look to different writings and teachings for wisdom and guidance, but every one of them – in its own words – challenges us with the notion that we are, indeed, our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

Therefore, we believe that the areas of focus in the report – a justice system that treats all people equally and with respect; a society that looks to the health, education and safety of young people; a regional economy that provides all people with an opportunity to thrive; and a culture that is willing to acknowledge and address racial disparity – are all worthy of our attention.

The report includes 189 separate calls to action and lists the people, agencies, organizations or structures that can address them. Specifically, it calls upon each of us, and we as the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership encourage everyone to get involved in shaping policies and taking direct action in promoting racial equity.

Let us continue to listen to each other as we work together to heal our community.

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Chair
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Vice Chair
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Interfaith Response to Violence and Loss of Life in Charleston

CharlestonStatement6.18.15

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, speak out in unison today on behalf of our brothers and sisters at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The mayor of Charleston, Joe Riley, said: “The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate.” We cannot silently allow acts of violence and hatred to take lives and instill fear in hearts.

We pray for the victims and their families, and the communities touched by this violence: the Emanuel AME Church family and all of Charleston. We pray for the safety of persons in all congregations, everywhere. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the perpetuation of fear. All persons should be safe to gather and pray in peace, regardless of their religion or race, without fear of violence or persecution.

As we seek meaningful change and healing, let us honor the basic tenets of others. Let us pray for understanding of the pain of others. Let us hear one another. Let us commit to creating real solutions that bring an end to unequal treatment and unequal opportunity. Let us all help build a more just and peaceful community.

Interfaith Partnership includes 29 different faith groups in the St. Louis area. Our motto: “As communities of faith, we agree to differ, promise to love, and unite to serve.

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Cabinet Chair
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Cabinet Vice Chair
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Cabinet Condemns Billboards Regarded as Islamophobic

Statement6.11.15

On Thursday, June 11th, 2015, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership released the following statement:

We, the members of the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, reaffirm our commitment to work toward equality for all our citizens. As we seek to tear down the racial disparities and prejudices that divide us, we remember a fundamental principle of all of our faith traditions—that we are called to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Billboards with cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been posted in the St. Louis area. Our Muslim friends and neighbors, and 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, regard it as an offense to depict the Prophet Muhammad in any way through pictures and drawings. It is also offensive to those who believe in freedom of speech which does not provoke violence and honors the basic tenets of others.

As we seek meaningful change and healing, let us honor the basic tenets of others. Let us pray for understanding of the pain of others. Let us hear one another. Let us commit to creating real solutions that bring an end to unequal treatment and unequal opportunity. Let us all help build a more just and peaceful community.

Interfaith Partnership includes 29 different faith groups in the St. Louis area. Our motto: “As communities of faith, we agree to differ, promise to love, and unite to serve.”

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Cabinet Chair
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Cabinet Vice Chair
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For a complete list of Cabinet members, please click here.

Cabinet Releases Statement Responding to Violence in France and Nigeria

The Cabinet has issued the following statement in response to the violence in France and Nigeria.

We, the leaders of the Interfaith Partnership Cabinet of Greater St. Louis, send our sincerest condolences and prayers to the victims of these evil attacks, to their friends and families, and to the whole of France and Nigeria.

We view the use of false theological rhetoric justifying murderous violence as an assault on the dignity of our faiths. We refuse to be silent bystanders who accept terrorism as the status quo; instead we urge all persons to condemn the dangers of extremism.

Such dangers begin with the tragic, unacceptable loss of life, but they do not end here. The weed of hatred grows rampantly—rebellious and without regard for governance. It threatens the relationships and communities cultivated by religious and political leaders with their eyes on our universal values: equality and freedom, most notably of thought, expression and religious belief.

We refuse to be divided by the presence of such a poisonous weed. Instead we seek a way forward together with the people who have been victims of senseless violence. After a year in which violence has assaulted our own sense of community, we seek the infinite stores of compassion within us for our neighbors both next door and across the Atlantic. Our work is not finished until we have eradicated violence in all the world—and in our hearts.

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, African Methodist Episcopal Church and Clergy Coalition
Chair of the Cabinet

Dr. Paul Hintze, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Vice Chair of the Cabinet

Please see full list of Cabinet members here.

Cabinet Releases Statement about Grand Jury Announcement

Our St. Louis community continues to face deep and painful challenges. The Grand Jury has presented its decision.

We, the members of the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, reaffirm our commitment to work toward equality for all our citizens. As we seek to tear down the racial disparities and prejudices that divide us, we remember a fundamental principle of all of our faith traditions—that we are called to treat others as we wish to be treated.

As we seek meaningful change and healing, we pray for understanding of the pain of others. Let us hear one another. Let us commit to creating real solutions that bring an end to unequal treatment and unequal opportunity. Let us all help build a more just and peaceful community.

Interfaith Partnership includes 24 different faith traditions in the St. Louis area. Our motto: “As communities of faith, we agree to differ, promise to love, and unite to serve.”

 

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
Archdiocese of St. Louis
Chair of the Cabinet

Rev. C. Jessel Strong
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
Vice-Chair of the Cabinet

To see the members of the Cabinet, please click here.

 

Cabinet Issues Statement

The Cabinet has offered the following statement today, August 12, 2014.

The Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis offers our compassion, prayers and support for the family of Michael Brown and the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

We must examine the tragic events taking place in the St. Louis area, seek to understand “Why?” and work toward dismantling systemic racism. Until the causes are addressed and rectified, there will be no change.

As we ask the hard questions and work for lasting solutions, the Cabinet calls for all people to pray for calm and peace and to be part of healing.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Archdiocese of St. Louis, Cabinet Chair
Rev. C. Jessel Strong, The African Methodist Episcopal Church, Cabinet Vice Chair

Wondering who is else on the Cabinet? See a list of current Cabinet members here.

Cabinet Issues Statement of Sympathy, Compassion for Kansas City

The Cabinet has issued the statement below in response to the tragic events that unfolded yesterday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas

To the editors:

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, extend our compassion and prayerful support for the Jewish community of Kansas City. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the victims and their families, and offer our prayers of healing for the entire community wounded by violence.

Each faith community has the right to peace and safety. We believe the best antidote to hatred, and the violence it creates, is living the values that uphold a democratic society: respect, peaceful conflict resolution and responsiveness to those in need. We honor the rich religious diversity that enhances our life together, yet we speak in unison. We speak with one voice to promote peace, respect and understanding among people of all faiths.

Interfaith Partnership includes 27 different faith traditions in the St. Louis area. Our motto is: “As communities of faith, we agree to differ, promise to love, and unite to serve.”

Signed,

The Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis
Archbishop Robert Carlson, Chair
Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Vice Chair

 

Cabinet Issues Statement Opposing “Right to Work”

STATEMENT OPPOSING RIGHT TO WORK LEGISLATION

From: Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis

The Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis is opposed to all proposed “Right to Work/Freedom to Work” legislation or call for referendum being considered by the Missouri Legislature.

Working for economic justice is an integral element of our faith traditions. The right of freely founding unions for working people and the right of those working people to bargain collectively are essential for economic justice. So-called “Right to Work/Freedom to Work” laws proposed under the guise of freedom to the individual worker actually weaken their ability to equally bargain for fair compensation in the workplace, and are obviously and admittedly anti-union in their intent and render impossible or at least weaken the process of collective bargaining between management and labor.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson,
Archdiocese of St. Louis
Chair of the Cabinet

Rev. C. Jessel Strong,
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
Vice-Chair of the Cabinet

 

March 2013 Statement on Medicaid Expansion, to Missouri State Legislators

As religious leaders participating in the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, we offer our prayers and moral support as you consider how to ensure access to healthcare for Missouri’s poorest and most vulnerable persons. We claim no special expertise in the technical aspects of federal healthcare law, including proposals to expand or reform Medicaid. However, we affirm that healthcare is a basic human right for every person and that too many people in our state are uninsured and don’t receive the regular medical care they need.

There are over 808,000 uninsured persons in Missouri, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. About 94,000 of these uninsured are children. Behind these statistics are flesh and blood human beings – our brothers and sisters in faith. Too many of them end up addressing their health problems on a crisis-by-crisis basis with visits to crowded emergency rooms.

It does not have to be this way. If the uninsured had health insurance, they could make regular doctor visits, follow preventative health care measures and avoid costly interventions for untreated medical conditions. Access to regular medical care is essential if we are to have a healthier Missouri.

Currently, Missouri prohibits most poor parents from participating in Medicaid. In most circumstances, a mother with two children will not qualify for Medicaid if her annual income exceeds $4,584. This is far below the federal poverty line. By denying health coverage to mothers, we also harm their children for children are far more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid if their mother is also covered. We therefore urge you to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income parents.

Some suggest Missouri phase out its Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health coverage for lower income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. About 45,000 of these children are in households just above the federal poverty line (100-150% FPL). If these children are forced into insurance exchanges where premiums must be paid, we fear that many will lose their health coverage. We therefore urge you to maintain Missouri’s CHIP program.

In closing, we urge you find ways to expand health coverage for those most in need. Now is no time for Missouri to take a step back when the rest of the nation is moving forward to expand access to health care. God Bless You!

Cabinet Issues Statement Condemning Violence Against Persons of Faith

The Cabinet has issued the following statement to help illuminate our conviction that we never condone the use of violence against persons of faith.

To the editors:

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls, condemn the morally reprehensible attack on the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. With great compassion we support the victims and their families. They are in our prayers. We mourn with them.

We also grieve the burning of the Islamic Center in Joplin and send our support and prayers to the Joplin Muslim community.

Our members share the conviction that violence never serves the cause of truth or faith. Each faith community has the right to worship in peace and safety. We honor the rich religious diversity that enhances our life together. We believe the best antidote to hatred, and the violence it creates, is living the values that uphold a democratic society which include respect, peaceful means of resolving differences and responsiveness to those in need.

We work to educate the St. Louis community regarding the different faith traditions and encourage dialogue and working together in the community. Interfaith Partnership welcomes the general public to join us in learning about the basics of Sikhism on Tuesday, September 18, at 7pm, at Eden Theological Seminary, 475 E. Lockwood Ave. in Webster Groves.

Interfaith Partnership includes over 30 different faith traditions in the St. Louis area. Our motto: “As communities of faith, we agree to differ, promise to love, and unite to serve.

Maryl Walters, CSB
Chair of the Cabinet

 

Letter to the Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls speak out in unequivocal condemnation of the outrageous statements against Islam and against Muslim Americans that were quoted in Tim Townsend’s column on Saturday, December 3rd. These are reprehensible assaults on our Muslim friends and neighbors. They stand in direct conflict to a cherished cornerstone of our life as a nation: respect for the rich religious diversity that enhances our communal life.

The shocking statements that Mr. Townsend quoted are directed not only against members of the Muslim community. They are directed against all who believe, as we do, that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible”.

We call on all St. Louisians to reject this attempt to tear the fabric of our communal life. Join us in condemning the attacks on our Muslim friends and neighbors recorded by Mr. Townsend and any future such attacks.

Maryl F. Walters, CSB
Chair of the Cabinet

The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Vice-Chair of the Cabinet
Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls

Letter to the Editor regarding Islamophobia

We, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls of Metropolitan St. Louis, join together again to speak against the Islamophobia that is darkening our country. We ask why a Congressional committee is targeting the Muslim community as a whole. We ask, if this is done to the Muslims and we don’t speak up, who will be next?

As religious leaders, we strive to promote peace, respect and understanding among people of all faiths. We condemn the rise of hate and hate language which is not in keeping with our American ideals. We believe that in our rightful need to protect our country, we must not demonize entire communities over the actions of a few misguided individuals.

We pray for the virtue of civility to characterize our dealings with each other.

Maryl F. Walters, CSB
Chair of the Cabinet

The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Vice-Chair of the Cabinet