PWR | CALLING | For Resistance to Despair, Addressing Extremism and Recommitting to Non-Violence

[Edited extract from public address]

On Sunday 15 May 2022, a gunman opened fire at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, killing one person and wounding five others as the congregation celebrated a former pastor in their sacred space. 

Authorities are calling this attack a “politically motivated hate incident.”

A hate incident, a trivial misnomer for the ever growing global threat of violent extremism, racism, and supremacist ideology. Only the day before across the USA in Buffalo, New York an 18-year-old who had shared a White supremacist “ replacement theory” online attacked a predominantly Black community shooting 13 people and killing ten.

Then, a few days ago, 19 children and 2 adults were shot to death in Uvalde, Texas at the school where they were supposed to be learning safely.

At the 1993 centenary Convening of the Parliament, the religions of the world came together and agreed upon their shared ethical traditions. The Parliament endorsed the Declaration Towards a Global Ethic. On its very first page, 4 paragraphs in, it states that “we condemn…the insane death of children from violence.” Nearly 30 years later, this is as true as ever.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions joins in mourning the lives lost in Laguna Woods, Buffalo, and Uvalde; we stand resolute with the wounded victims, their loved ones, and the communities most affected.

We also invite our global community to endorse the call we made in 2016 to resist despair and recommit to nonviolence. In the midst of all this horror – and as we face threats to freedom and human rights around the world – we CANNOT afford to fall into despair and apathy.

Now more than ever the Parliament urges the interfaith movement around the world and all individuals of faith, conscience, and goodwill to commit to action against supremacist ideology, hate speech, violence, and extremism.

Furthermore, we implore political leaders and law enforcement officials to acknowledge the systemic threat of gun violence, racism, and violent extremists against the most vulnerable in their communities. We call on the United States Congress to reform the laws around access to assault weapons. If we cannot protect our children, who can we protect? The time for change is NOW. There is no justifiable excuse for inaction on this issue.

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Parliament of the World's Religions (PWR)
Address: 70 East Lake St., Ste 230 Chicago, IL 60601 USA
Tel: (312) 629-2990