Dear First Baptist Church Family;
Last week I got this message via email:
Hello Faith Leader:
As many of you are aware, there’s been several attacks against our Jewish Brothers & Sisters. Over the weekend, Gov. Cuomo released the press statement denouncing Anti-Semitism.
Do you mind supporting the Governor’s Statement by replying “YES” to this email? We would like to show the world that all faiths stand together in solidarity.
Here’s the statement below:
“Anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate of any kind are repugnant to our values and will not be tolerated in our state. We condemn this attack and all attacks against members of the Jewish community in New York — an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. Together we will continue fighting hate and intolerance with love and inclusion.”
Clement James, Jr.
Director of Faith Based Outreach
Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
My first thought was to say “of course,” and reply as requested; then I sat back and though it through for a few moments.
Do I abhor hatred and any sort of religious persecution? Of course, I do. Do I condemn the recent attacks on the folks within the Jewish community? Certainly. Do we, as Baptists, support religious liberty? As a matter of fact, it was one of the defining points of Baptistic tradition since the early 17th century and has been stated quite clearly within the last few years.
However, politics being what it is, I had to ask the question of who defines hatred and bigotry. In the current climate, we who hold fast to one standard, the Bible, and stand by the teaching as unchanged and unchanging—in spite of current politics—are considered haters and bigots when we take the stand and do not follow with modern trends. Of course, here I speak about our stances and teachings on sexuality and gender.
Therefore, though I support religious freedom for all and though I decry violence against any religious group—no matter what it is—I cannot support the governor’s statement.
Pastor, FBC Amsterdam