[Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma] My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
By now, many of you have heard the news or seen the horrific acts of violence from the political demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. Acts that have left one person dead and several others injured.
As people of faith, we cannot let these actions occur without speaking out against the hatred, bigotry, and injustice perpetrated by those who commit these cruel and violent acts.
We are a nation founded upon the principles that all people are created equal, regardless of race, gender, orientation, religious persuasion, or station in life. The violence and rhetoric witnessed today do not reflect these principles, they should be condemned in the strongest possible manner, and those responsible should be held accountable.
I fear that we have lost the desire to live in community. I fear that the world has been telling us far too loudly, and for far too long, that our primary desire above all else should be promotion of self-interest. I fear that the opinion that the ends justify the means, has resulted in a common message that whatever course of action we see fit to use to accomplish our goals can be justified: dishonesty, hatred, violence, etc.
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I write to you today to remind you that the world doesn’t have the final say! We have the ability and the power to change the trajectory in which we find our world and society. Through the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can and will make a difference. We must not allow acts of violence, hatred, bigotry, and injustice to continue. We must speak out in love; extend a hand to our neighbor; give hope to the lost and cast aside. Together our voices can drown out the vicious rhetoric that has taken over our country; and we can create a new conversation.
In the urgency of this moment, I ask your prayers for all who have been affected by today’s events. Pray for our first responders; medical personnel; victims and their loved ones; the community of Charlottesville; and all those affected by this situation. I ask you also, as our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us, to pray for those who commit these acts of injustice and violence that they may find amendment of heart, and be filled with a desire to live in the peace and love of Jesus Christ!
I ask all congregations to include the Prayer for the Human Family in their worship services, and I ask you to pray with me now:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+Bishop Ed Konieczny