Interfaith Council Releases Statement On Presidential Election

Religious leaders plan to speak in their houses of worship this weekend (April 14-17) about civility in anticipation of the New York primary elections on Tuesday. 

A message from the Greater Newburgh Interfaith Council:
We, the undersigned, as leaders of our respective faith communities, stand united in our quest to build the beloved community where love overcomes fear.
We are alarmed at the rising tide of xenophobia in our nation.
We are dismayed by those who use words to harm, spewing stereotypes that kindle bigotry and hatred.
We lament each surge in xenophobic speech and subsequent spikes in violence against Americans, no matter what their belief system, race, ethnic background, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Reacting to differences with fear and hatred diminishes us all.
We value safety and security yet accept that as humans we are inherently vulnerable.
We recognize that our greatest protection from extremists comes from building bridges of trust with those who appear different from us.
We heed the teachings of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and other wisdom traditions that implore us: love one another.
We recognize that those who have been the targets of hate speech are our neighbors; they are our doctors, professors and local merchants; they are mothers and fathers, caregivers, and colleagues; they are part of us.
We celebrate people of all races, ethnicities, faith traditions, gender identities and sexual orientations among us who contribute to the diversity of our community and help make America great.
We seek a world where racism, hate, and violence are relics of the past, where differences are celebrated and respected, and where our children learn by our examples the ways of peace.
We urge all people of all faiths to join us in these commitments, in the name of God.

Rabbi Larry Freedman of Temple Beth Jacob said, "Remember that voting is near sacred and that who we choose, whether for local or national positions is always worthy of serious consideration.  We know that people may become heated and conversation may become strident but that is only because of the care and concern we have for our country.  Even still, we must never let passions get the better of us and never allow our love for country to damage our country."

GNIC is made up of over 20 churches and synagogues in the city and town of Newburgh. Mary Lou Baumgartner, President of the Greater Newburgh Interfaith Council and Pastor at King of Kings Lutheran Church in New Windsor, signed and distributed this statement on behalf of the council. 

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