Yesterday, the world witnessed what some described as great carnage and others as “a glorious day.” We, the supporters of the Global Justice Institute, members of Metropolitan Community Churches, and other good people of faith come to this issue with heavy hearts.
We may not all agree politically. We represent varying parties and persuasions around the globe, and none at all. But all of us must lay those sad divisions, as the hymn says, aside and simply voice our agreement that violence and the slaughtering of many innocent lives is never just or right or what God asks of us.
While some cheered the opening of a new United States Embassy in the City of Jerusalem, among them 800 religious conservatives whose anti-LGBTQI work is clear, over a 1,000 other human beings were tear gassed and shot, at least 100 of whom died, including an 8-month old child, Leila al-Ghandour.
We want you to hear us: People were shot for exercising a right many in this world cherish: the right to protest, the right to assemble and demonstrate.
Some may argue the protestors became violent. That happened at the Stonewall Riots in the United States, too. Rocks — or in the case of the Stonewall, trash cans and uprooted parking meters — cannot be compared to military grade rifles and other weapons of war. Doctors Without Borders have compared the carnage of just one day to that of the Gaza war in 2014. What we witness is a region of the world characterized by the absence of peace, decades in the making.
The violence has to stop — everywhere, yes, and today we are starting with the violence that continues to separate one group of people from a Holy City three world religions claim.
Everyone, regardless of political persuasion, can commit right now to be an ambassador for peace and goodwill, taking up Isaiah’s vision that all nations will come streaming in together to live together in service to the God who made us all. The war against difference has to stop.
We all can contact relevant embassies and government officials, wherever we live, and demand, as the United Nations has, that only policies that promote peace and a just and equal sharing of the land for Palestinians and Israelis alike be pursued and advocated.
We, as LGBTQIA people, learned long ago that none of us is free until all of us are free, and that silence on that matter is death.
God is not impartial, as Bishop Tutu reminded the world long ago, when it comes to the poor and suffering, and we must not be either. Now is the time to sacrifice partiality to peace and human equality. Join the Global Justice Institute and our allies in speaking up today.
This statement prepared by the Government and Policy Team of the Global Justice Institute. The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director. For more information or to become involved with GJI contact The Rev. Jim Merritt at [email protected]