Tell Rep. Joe Walsh: End the Vitriolic Rhetoric
We lament the recent rash of violence across the nation and decry the kind of language that makes excuses for, encourages, and even incites such violence. The fear-promoting words of Rep. Joe Walsh are a recent example of the sort of accusatory, bigoted rhetoric that betrays the cherished ideals of religious freedom and tolerance.
At a recent town hall meeting, Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois’ 8th District made a number of insensitive and inflammatory comments about the American Muslim community. These kinds of comments are not helpful to our national conversation and perpetuate a culture of violence against American Muslims.
The following weekend, two different Muslim houses of worship were subject to violent, hateful attacks and a number of Muslim graves were vandalized in nearby Chicago suburbs. Violent rhetoric, like the language so often employed by Rep. Walsh, normalizes and enables this kind of violence.
As Chicagoland Unitarian Universalist ministers, we choose to Stand on the Side of Love and ask all people to follow the path of peace, justice, and goodness called for by their own faiths. We ask that every leader, civic or religious, speak the language of common good and understanding rather than hostility and ignorance. We hope that Rep. Joe Walsh will step back from his angry and hateful remarks, apologize to the thousands of peace-loving, moral, and devoted Muslims, and, even more importantly, recognize that he has the power to help build bridges and defuse violence.
Let us reclaim a more peaceful society where religious freedom is protected and our beautiful diversity is celebrated. Leaders like Rep. Joe Walsh must change the language they use and participate in civil discourse rather than make accusations.
We write this, not to condemn Rep. Walsh, but to ask everyone, particularly our leaders, to take stock of our language and to question whether our actions promote the ideals for which we, as a nation, stand. We can all speak and do better.
Rev. Hilary Krivchenia
Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Connie Grant
Unitarian Church of Evanston
Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher
DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church
The message above went out on Friday, August 17, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.