Bishop Rowe’s Statement on Tree of Life Shooting

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania:

On hearing the news that a number of people had been murdered during Saturday morning services at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh by a gunman shouting anti-Semitic statements, my friend Elizabeth Drescher took to Twitter, where she offered these verses from Psalm 55:

My heart is in anguish within me,

the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling come upon me,

and horror overwhelms me.

The words of the psalmist—indeed, any words—are inadequate to express my deep grief and condolences to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and to Jewish people across the country who are reeling from this hate-filled attack on peaceful people at prayer. There is no place in our churches, our communities, or our country for anti-Semitism.

The verses speak not only to this latest mass shooting, but also to the reality of our daily lives in a time of increasing ideological and partisan violence. Earlier this week, a gunman shot two black shoppers at a Kroger’s near Louisville, but did not shoot a white man, to whom he said, “Whites don’t shoot whites.” News of this outrage competed for airtime with another, as pipe bombs were mailed to prominent critics of President Trump.

My friends in Christ, we are in the grip of a spiritual sickness. This illness manifests itself in our debased civil discourse, which is rife with charge and countercharge but lacks individuals willing to take responsibility for the violence their rhetoric spawns. It makes itself known both in the massacres of innocent people and the cowardice of a Congress unwilling even to consider legislation that would keep weapons such as the AR-15 used in today’s shooting out of the hands of hate-filled ideologues. And while the sickness demeans and endangers every one of us, it presents a particular threat to religious, racial, ethnic and sexual minorities whose lives are held cheap by those whom reckless politicians and pundits incite.

In circumstances such as these the church has a mission: to comfort the afflicted, to sow seeds of peace, and to advocate for justice. In prayerful humility, let us be about it.

Faithfully,

 

3 thoughts on “Bishop Rowe’s Statement on Tree of Life Shooting

  1. Right on Sean! Never, even during the riots of the 60’s, have I seen such hateful rhetoric. It breeds such anger and hateful energy. Let all get out and vote, in November to promote decisive change! Good vibes, will overcome bad vibes!

    Like

  2. I grew up an Episcopalian a block away from this synagogue. My best friends were Jewish. We did all the magical things kids growing up in Squrrel Hill in the late fifties could do. We roamed the neighborhood, rode the streetcars to movies and shops, caught fireflies and collected locust shell and buckeyes, had sleepovers and shared dinners. On Saturdays we missed our pals who were at Hebrew school. We were all about just being kids and growing up together, in peace, love and fun.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s