From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Recent Church Burnings
Fri, 21 Jun 1996 10:10:18 -0700 (PDT)
For Immediate Release
June 21, 1996
Contact: J.Ron Byler, AFSC (215/241-7060)
A Statement Regarding the Recent Church Burnings from the American Friends
Service Committee (AFSC), June 21, 1996
Daily we hear of new and spreading incidents of attacks on houses of worship
throughout our country. The majority of these attacks have been on African
American congregations which serve as the heart of the African American
community and have been powerful centers of social transformation for
generations. This calls us once again to be mindful and responsive to our
nation's history and current struggle with bigotry and racial violence.
We believe that the separate acts spring from a climate supportive of
scapegoating and hostility, particularly of people of color. Many
organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups that
preach racial hatred bear responsibility for this climate.
The burnings must stop. We call upon law enforcement authorities at the
federal, state and local levels to intensify their search for the arsonists,
to provide protection for all churches, and to pursue a full and impartial
search for the truth, including the possibility that this is a coordinated
campaign to intimidate communities. We ask anyone having information to come
We ask our public leaders to challenge the climate in which these acts are
allowed to be perpetrated. The tendency to deny the racist character of
these events and to target suspicion on church members must stop. Race
hatred in all of its manifestations should be recognized and rejected.
The AFSC has worked for racial justice throughout our history. In the l960s
we worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. in challenging racial segregation and
discrimination in the South and in the North. This work continues today
throughout the nation. While some progress is being made, these events make
painfully evident that the struggle must go on.
We commend the initiatives taken by the Washington Quaker Workcamps and the
National Council of Churches to recruit volunteers and raise funds to help
rebuild the churches. Contributions to support this work may be sent to the
AFSC at 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215/241-7086).
For more information, please contact Jane Motz (215/241-7123) or Ron Byler
(215/241-7060), both of the AFSC.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization which
includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace
and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the Quaker belief in the
worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence
Director of Media Relations
American Friends Service Committee
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .