February 13, 2019
Call on Faith Leaders to Rescind their Statement of Support
Rep. Steve King (R-4th IA) stated, in an interview reported in the New York Times on January 15, “White nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Franciscans believe all human beings, regardless of race, creed, or color, are created in the very image and likeness of God. Therefore, Franciscan Action Network (FAN) condemns all forms of bigotry and racism and has called on our elected leaders to courageously speak and stand against it directly. FAN believes that the appropriate action was taken by Republican leadership in removing Mr. King from all his committee assignments, as a consequence of his rhetoric. Although elected to his office, such manifest and persistent racist attitudes should not be allowed a platform through leadership roles.
A group of faith leaders have now released a letter calling on the Republican leadership to reinstate Rep. King’s committee assignments. Such a request is not in keeping with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The example of the life of St. Francis of Assisi challenges us all to build bridges of peace through justice. This call for the Republican leadership to rescind their decision undermines the leadership’s previous act of justice and the protection of the common good.
We are currently experiencing in our society extreme divisiveness and racism in the public sphere and online. We believe the actions by Republican leadership were pertinent and efficiently carried out after the remarks were verified. We urge the Republican leadership to not reinstate Rep. King and hope that the faith leaders will retract their statement.