On April 13 (Sunday), an avowed anti-Semitic person attacked people at two Jewish sites in Overland Park, Kansas. Three people, all Christian, were killed. Although it does not receive as much media coverage as it should, anti-Jewish incidents are rising world-wide. In response, ABCNJ's Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, has composed the following statement, which was approved for distribution by the ABCNJ Council Executive Committee on Monday evening, April 14, 2014. Please share it with your churches through your newsletters, email lists, and church services this Passover-Easter week.
A Statement of Solidarity with the Jewish Community (2014)
Whereas, as Christians we recognize and are grateful for the Jewish roots of our faith, noting especially that Jesus himself was a Jew, and
Whereas, the American Baptist Churches USA has passed multiple resolutions condemning anti-Semitism at its national conventions (1934, 1939, 1944, 1962), a stance that was reaffirmed by the General Board Executive Committee in 1983 and 1997, and
Whereas, many of our regions passed similar resolutions and statements during the Holocaust era, including the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey in 1946, and
Whereas, the American Baptist Churches USA held its most recent biennial convention in Overland Park in 2013 and will return for its next biennial in 2015,
Therefore, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community of Overland Park, Kansas and grieve with the families that lost loved ones in the Black Sunday attack at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park and at the Village Shalom Retirement Community in Leawood, on April 13, 2014, just before the start of Passover.
Furthermore, we reiterate our opposition to all forms of anti-Semitism and prejudice, in the United States and globally, and encourage our churches to do everything possible to express love and friendship to people of every nation, religion and race.
Approved by the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey on April 14, 2014
Prepared by Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, ABCNJ Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor