PC(USA) leaders respond to attacks in Libya
Parsons issues statement, Nelson speaks at press conference in D.C.
Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) expressed grief over the deaths of four U.S. diplomats in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and called on all people to reject violence and respect each others’ faiths.
In a statement issued here, General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons said “government leaders of both Libya and the United States have appropriately condemned the attack.” He said, “We join people of different faiths and people of good will in recognizing that such violence goes against the historic teachings of Islam, Judaism and Christianity … we join the calls for all people to turn from violence” and “join people of different faiths and people of good will in rejecting messages of hatred, bigotry and division based on faith” ― an apparent reference to a movie trailer produced in the U.S. that denigrates the prophet Mohammed which was the apparent cause of violent demonstrations against U.S. embassies in Libya, Yemen and Egypt.
In Washington, PC(USA) Office of Public Witness Director J. Herbert Nelson joined Jewish and Muslim leaders in a press conference that also condemned the killings and called for non-violence and interfaith cooperation and understanding. The full NBC television recording of the press conference is available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/49005542#49005542 .
The full text of Parsons’ statement, dated Sept. 12:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is deeply grieved by the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other staff members. Government leaders of both Libya and the United States have appropriately condemned the attack.
We join people of different faiths and people of good will in recognizing that such violence goes against the historic teachings of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, which are based on God’s love and a peaceful regard for all God’s people. We join the calls for all people to turn from violence.
We join people of different faiths and people of good will in rejecting messages of hatred, bigotry, and division based on faith. Such messages, as exemplified by an online video recently circulated by anti-Muslim hate groups, do not represent the best of the United States and of faith communities. We join the calls for all people to respect one another’s faith commitments.
Our hearts and prayers go out for the families and loved ones of Mr. Stevens and the other victims of the attack. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Libya who were affected by the attack.
Our faith affirms that God is a God not of violence but of grace, love, and peace. We stand with people of all faiths and good will to express our sincere opposition to all acts of violence, to witness to the love that binds all things together, and to reaffirm our intention to work for peace for all people.