ELCA NEWS SERVICE
September 19, 2012
ELCA leaders call for an end to hate crimes, domestic extremism
CHICAGO (ELCA) - Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) commend the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for convening a hearing Sept. 19 on hate crimes and domestic extremism in a "Statement for the Record" submitted today by the ELCA to the Senate.
In the record, ELCA leaders stated that it is a moral imperative that policymakers and elected officials take strong measures "to build a future where hate has no place." The "policies and practices of racial and religious profiling perpetuate bias and divert resources that should be used to protect those on the margins of society, who are most at risk. The threat is not the 'other' it is those who hate the 'other.'"
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, and other ELCA churchwide ministries leaders urged Congress, the White House and appropriate government agencies to:
+ ensure robust and comprehensive implementation of the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act;
+ improve federal hate crime data collection, categorization and reporting efforts, adding new categories for affected communities not yet covered -- anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu;
+ allocate and prioritize federal funding for initiatives that prevent, investigate and combat hate crimes, hate groups and domestic extremism;
+ establish formal interagency efforts, in partnership with community stakeholders, including religious communities, to address hate crimes; and
+ contribute to a civil discourse, setting a moral standard that adheres to the ideals that our nation and many of our faith traditions hold in common: fairness, equality, dignity and respect.
"As people of faith, and as Americans, we uphold the values of inclusion, plurality and diversity and seek to live according to the commandment that summarized the law: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31), stated ELCA leaders.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com