Committee recommends adoption of resolution opposing hostility to Islam
Written by Eric Anderson
July 3, 2011
Working in a consensus model, Committee 12 recommended that
General Synod 28 adopt the resolution “On Actions of Hostility Against Islam
and the Muslim Community” submitted by Wider Church Ministries.
Committee members universally supported the direction of the
resolution and its call to the church to declare its “clear support for
neighbors in the Muslim community,” in response to highly visible anti-Muslim
statements and actions in the United States over the last year.
Delegates and visitors to the committee deliberations told
story after story, both about anti-Muslim activities in their home regions and
actions taken by UCC churches in response. Matt Davis of La Crosse, Wisc., said
the resolution is very timely for his community. A local Muslim congregation
has been growing, and looks now to purchase land to build a mosque.
“We can already feel stirrings against it,” he said. With
Davis’ encouragement, the committee added language to the resolution calling
for documentation and publicity of actions taken “in support of Muslims and
people of other faiths.”
Margaret Johnston, a laywoman from the Gainesville, Fla.
area, offered a sign of hope from the very center of the Quran burning
controversy. After the desecration, UCC pastors the Revs. Lawrence and Sandra
Reimer joined with clergy of several confessions in the Gainesville Interfaith
Forum to speak against hateful acts with one clear voice. They have chosen to
act together as well, and the group will undertake a Habitat for Humanity
building project together.
Minnie Montgomery, who works in the public schools in
Bethesda, Md., may have said it best. “In my seventy-some years,” she told the
delegates, “I am finding we are more alike than we are different.”
Wider Church Ministries brought the measure to Synod, said
Executive Minister the Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, because of concerns raised by
ecumenical partners around the world, who experienced some severe backlash from
the Quran burning and Cordoba House controversies in the summer of 2010.
The committee began and ended its deliberations with prayer,
lifting up their concerns not just for their Muslim neighbors and friends, but
also at the invitation of chairperson John Ramos of Watertown, Conn.,
remembering the cares and concerns they brought with them to General Synod.
General Synod delegates will vote on this and other
resolutions on Monday and Tuesday.