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Faith Leaders and Influencers Release Statements on Tragic Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Several faith leaders, influencers and voices of reason have released statements on the tragic shooting that took the lives of 11 people in a close-knit Pittsburgh community on October 28 (Image from Charisma Media):

“We are devastated by the needless and tragic loss of life on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Once again, the Jewish community is the victim of one of the most ancient hatreds known to mankind—anti-Semitism. A gunman took advantage of the freedoms afforded to Americans and walked into a synagogue uncontested, where he attacked Sabbath worshipers. This was pure evil.

“Declaring, ‘All Jews must die!’ he revealed a heart that stands opposed to God’s heart. Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ (Isaiah 5:20). The gunman said he was ‘going in,’ believing his action was good; but it was a cowardly and graphic display of wickedness.

“We uphold the victims, their families, and everyone affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers. We know that their lives have been changed forever.

“As part of the covenant God made with Abraham, He promised to bless those who bless Abraham (Genesis 12:3). God reaffirmed this covenant with Isaac, Jacob and Jacob’s descendants—the Jewish people. Nowhere in Scripture does God ever say He has withdrawn, canceled or transferred this promise to anyone else. What the gunman should have done was enter the synagogue and thank the Jewish people for blessing the world.

“Someday, this man, who brazenly took innocent Jewish lives, will meet the Maker of the universe. He will come face to face with the One who also promised to curse those who curse the Jewish people. Perhaps, before then, he will recognize how heinous his thoughts and actions were and will feel true remorse and repentance. To that end we will pray.

“We are left to wonder how such a tragedy can happen, and why the Jewish people continue to be singled out for hatred. Anti-Semitism is a reality that has shaped the Jewish community for many ages. In the days of the psalmist, the Jewish people’s enemies sought to cut them off so their name would be forgotten forever (Psalm 83:4). But the psalmist also said the enemies of the Jewish people are the enemies of God. This is still true today.

“They did not succeed in the psalmist’s day, nor have they since. But failure has not stopped them from trying. Anti-Semites have persecuted God’s Chosen People throughout history; and in the past 1,500 years, the persecution was often perpetrated by those who identified as Christians. Given the legacy of anti-Semitism carried out in the name of Christ, it is not hard to understand why many Jewish people fear Christianity.

“But the truth is that, as Christians, we should love whomever God loves. The Lord loves the Jewish people “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). All Christians should do likewise. After the church began, God reaffirmed that the Jewish people are beloved (Romans 11:28). Jesus taught His followers to be marked by love and compassion, and not by hate. Hatred is the tool of the Evil One and is not of the Lord.

“Since our founding 80 years ago, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry has been proud to identify as Christians who love the Jewish people. We are privileged to stand in solidarity with them, and we mourn with the Jewish community and strongly condemn the attack in Pittsburgh. We abhor and oppose anti-Semitism in any form, whether verbal or physical. It is wrong.

“We pray the peace of God will comfort all who are hurting, and we ask for His blessing upon His Chosen People.”

–Jim Showers,
executive director and president of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

“We pray for victims of this tragic shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, and for all the Jewish people in the world. The suspect has a history of espousing anti-Semitic hatred. Americans must devote themselves to defending the lives and liberties of persecuted ethnic and religious peoples, and especially that of Jews and Christians whose plight is so often ignored or under reported by Western mainstream media. We must counter and avoid more senseless and hateful acts of violence by holding accountable those responsible for inciting or committing brutal acts toward others because they love and worship God.”

–Dede Laugesen,
founder member and Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition director

“The civilized world must band together in solidarity to ensure that people of all faiths can live in peace and harmony and that Jews are never persecuted and victimized by barbaric, murderous ideologies ever again. To allow anti-Semitism to continue to exist unchecked in the 21st century destroys a piece of everyone’s humanity. There is simply no room for such hatred in the world.

“The sooner we realize that allowing the stain of anti-Semitism to persist will only result in violence eventually against everyone, the better.”

–Brigitte Gabriel,
New York Times best-selling author, who released
RISE: In Defense of Judeo-Christian Values and Freedom” on Sept. 11

“I grew up near the Pittsburgh synagogue that was murderously attacked on Saturday. The eleven elderly people killed there were neighbors in a community I remember fondly for its tranquility and harmony.

“Another vivid memory is that some five decades ago this house of worship was one of those that prominently displayed a sign exhorting congregants and passersby like me to ‘Save Soviet Jews.’ That expression of concern for others is a hallmark of so many of the Jewish faith.  It launched a movement that ultimately liberated millions of Jews and hundreds of millions of others enslaved by the ‘Evil Empire.’

“Sadly, Jews now need saving in lots of places, including in Europe and even in America where anti-Semitic violence is on the rise.  We must stand against those who would come for them, and then for the rest of us.”

–Frank Gaffney,
founder and president of the Center for Security Policy

“Our sincere condolences and the heartfelt prayers of the Times Square Church congregation are being lifted up to the throne of God for the families and friends of the victims in Pittsburgh,” Conlon said. “It is now imperative that we join together in prayer for the comfort of those affected and for the love and unity which only God can bring to touch our beloved country again. We have been spiritually awakened as a people throughout history. We must get together now and ask for God’s love and truth to abound in our cities once more. It’s time to pray.”

–Carter Conlon,
Times Square Church and author of “It’s Time to Pray