October 30, 2018
Media Contact: Janine Walsh
Franciscan Action Network Mourns with Tree of Life Members
As the funerals for those senselessly lost on Saturday take place today, FAN offers prayers and a commitment to future action
Washington, D.C. - As the Jewish community at Tree of Life Synagogue today bury their revered and beloved members killed violently on their Sh abbat, members of Franciscan Action Network (FAN) join them in praying their Kaddish, their Mourner’s Prayer. FAN also prays for the community of Squirrel Hill and for all the people of Pittsburgh who are in mourning today. Finally, FAN prays in gratitude for the work and witness of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), whose long history of outreach to refugees was an incomprehensible motivating factor in the slaughter of 11 worshipers by a lone gunman.
The tragedy on Saturday, October 27th, was the culmination of a week of hate rhetoric and actions. Bombs were sent to at least 14 critics of the president’s vitriolic speech against the free press and the Democratic Party. Two African American men were shot and killed by a white supremacist in a store in Louisville, KY who first tried to enter a church. The president declared his intention to send at least 5,000 military personnel to the southern border to “defend our country” from several thousand men, women, and children making their way slowly through Mexico toward the U.S. fleeing violence and extreme poverty in their home countries, hoping to find refuge in this country. Then came the horrific massacre of 11 Jewish men and women in Tree of Life Synagogue.
This was a week of racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic hatred and violence, tragic and terrible in every case, but made even more so because the offensive rhetoric of the president of this country stoked the fires of hate which resulted in violence. The real terrorists are not the desperate families from Central America seeking refuge in the United States; the real terrorists come from within, people motivated by false fears of “the other,” and animosity of those unlike themselves, who are stirred to violence by hate rhetoric using easily accessible assault weapons.
“We members of FAN, who follow in the footprints of Jesus of Nazareth and Francis of Assisi, must commit ourselves to peacemaking, not passivity, but peacemaking that moves from mourning with brothers and sisters under attack, to taking concrete actions to defend them and join their struggle for justice, even if it involves risks for ourselves,” challenges FAN’s executive director, Patrick Carolan. “Our country’s soul is at stake. Our religious faith demands it.”