As of Oct. 1, about 3,000 of this country's religious leaders had signed an Interfaith Statement, "Deny Them Their Victory: A Religious Response to Terrorism." The number represents a broad spectrum of the U.S. religious community, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist leaders.
Signers from the Christian community, who gave their personal endorsement, include Protestant, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, Historic Black Church and Historic Peace Church traditions. Among them are many UCC clergy and members of the UCC Collegium of Officers.
On Sept. 21, the statement was delivered to every Congressional office and to the White House.
The statement appeals for "sober restraint" in responding to the attacks of Sept. 11. It urges that "those responsible for these utterly evil acts be found and brought to justice," but cautions that "we must not, out of anger and vengeance, indiscriminately retaliate in ways that bring on even more loss of innocent life."
"Let us deny them [the terrorists] their victory by refusing to submit to a world created in their image," the signers argue, adding, "We must not allow this terror to drive us away from being the people God has called us to be."
The message also warns that innocent Americans who share the terrorists' ethnicity, national origin or religion should be protected from indiscriminate reprisal or acts of violence. Terming the aftermath of the attacks a "test of national character," the statement calls for citizens to rededicate themselves to the vision of "community, tolerance, compassion, justice, and the sacredness of human life, which lies at the heart of all our religious traditions."
To read the statement and its list of signatories, go to www.ncccusa.org/news/interfaithstatement.html.
To sign the statement, go to www.sojo.net/response/.