The murder of ten people in Hanau on February 19 confronts us again with the harsh reality of racist hate in Europe.
We say this plainly: The Christian gospel preaches against racial hatred without exception, and murderous violence is a violation of both the commandment against murder and the teaching of Christ that the path of reconciliation and mutual regard is the only path that leads to a just and peaceful society.
In October of last year, we wrote to express our solidarity with the Jewish community in Halle that was victimized by a similar attack motivated by the same kind of hate. We now write to express our support for the immigrant and native-born Muslim communities of Germany, understanding that their hope to live peacefully by the dictates of the conscience is linked to our own ability to do the same.
We are proud to live and minister to our communities in a nation that has set an example of leadership for all nations to follow in welcoming refugees and those fleeing violence and discord in their own countries. Our scriptures teach us the requirement of welcoming the refugee and stranger in our midst. As a nation, Germany has done so admirably, and has acted with charity toward those who have come seeking safety and peace. This great accomplishment must not be threatened by those who speak hatred and falsity against their neighbors. We will continue to teach in our communities against radicalized hate in whatever form it appears, and we will stand with our Muslim neighbors in defense of their right to leave peaceably in the country that has welcomed them.