St. Louis Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls Response to Baptist Convention Statements

Posted Nov 6, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version Bookmark and Share

There are times when we as an interfaith community have to decide whether incendiary comments such as those spewed by Rev. David Clippard, Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, last week should be dignified with a response. It is unfortunate, but Rev. Clippard’s words have the ability to embolden the few whose hearts are already bent toward intolerance. Our desire is not to match hateful speech with hateful speech, but to call on moderate voices in solidarity with Rev. Scott Stearman, (“Moderates should conspire to take over America,” November 5, 2006)  to reason and respond to this rhetoric by resounding God’s real love, which extends peace and justice to all within our reach.

As we read Clippard’s remarks many of us were reminded of the fear that comes with prejudice and injustice that has been directed toward our religious communities.

In the Twentieth Century, fanning the flames of religious hatred by gross stereotyping and sweeping generalizations led to the deaths of millions. Those who stand as religious leaders today should think long and hard before they announce conspiracy fantasies to their faithful. Although Clippard may have tried to express a message of love, he has fallen short of this by instilling fear in his message. 

Our region and country is enriched by the presence and participation of Muslims and other religious people. Islam is a peaceful religion and is not a unitary entity capable of formulating strategic plans. Nor is there any entity that can speak for all Muslims, whether in the U.S.A. or in the world at large.  To pretend otherwise and then to attribute to such a non-existent entity, inaccuracies regarding Muslim motives in America is to demonize a religion and its adherents—it is wrong.

We call on religious people and other moderate voices of good will to seek out persons of other religious communities to build bridges of mutual understanding and respect.

Ms. Cynthia Holmes, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Rev. Dr. Paul Reiter, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, PCUSA

Bishop Wayne Smith, Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

Rabbi Mark Shook, Congregation Temple Israel

Rev. Earl E. Nance Jr., Greater Mt. Carmel MB Church

Father Vincent Heier, Archdiocese of St. Louis, Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Ms. Batya Abramson-Goldstein, Jewish Community Relations Council

Rev. Martin Rafanan, National Conference for Community and Justice St. Louis

Bishop Howard Nelson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Ms. Maryl Walters,C.S.B. & Mr. Merrill Boudreaux, Christian Science

Dr. Tom Paxson, Society of Friends

Rev. Vera Wetteroff, President Gateway USA, Community of Christ

Ms. David Landesman, Bahá’í Faith

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, Eden Theological Seminary

Ms. Nancy Remmert, President, Church Women United

Rev. Douglas Cripe, Metro East Interfaith Partnership

Mr. Harvey Schneider, President Elect

Orvin T. Kimbrough, Executive Director

Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls of Metropolitan St. Louis

With over 25 years of collective experience Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls are nonprofit organizations that promote inter-religious peace, respect and understanding through dialogue, education, celebration, advocacy and volunteerism.