FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 3, 2018
CONTACT: Wes Helm, Faith in Texas, 254-291-3178, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clergy Unite to Speak Against Racism and Hatred
in Euless City Council Race
Over the past weeks, Council Candidate Salman Bhojani has been subject to attacks on his faith and ethnicity, including insinuatory remarks from his Representative in the Texas State House, Jonathan Stickland. Clergy leaders in Euless and surrounding areas have been dismayed to see the fires of fear and prejudice stoked against a fellow member of the faith community. Alongside leaders from Faith in Texas, a multi-faith movement for social justice, these clergy came together to speak out against the hateful and prejudicial remarks made to Mr. Bhojani and his family.
“My position is that the church stands firmly in the tradition of Jesus being opposed to racism and hatred. We lament that some who claim the name of Christ treat those who do not as suspicious or less committed citizens. We are committed to following Jesus better today than yesterday, thus loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. This means all of our neighbors, whether we look alike, think alike, or believe alike,” said Rev. Steve Heyduck, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Euless.
Clergy felt it was important for faith leaders from across the region to make a clear moral statement in the face of the hateful rhetoric. “This is not about politics. This is about basic human interaction, rules of engagement, and the ability to disagree with a person without making it about race or religion,” said Rev. Philip Rhodes, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Hurst.
Rev. Jaime Kowlessar, Senior Pastor at City Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church and Faith in Texas Clergy Table Chair, called on other politicians involved in the race to rescind statements that appear to demean Mr. Bhojani’s faith. “Derogatory statements towards Muslims are not simply an assault to Mr. Bhojani’s faith, but are evidence of disregard for his humanity. Our elected officials are given the responsibility of not only leading ethically, but also seeking to bring out the best in their constituents. Today we are witnessing the total opposite. The scriptures teach us to love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Faith in Texas clergy understand that our dignity is found in appreciation for each other regardless of religious affiliation. As a body of clergy, we are calling on everyone involved in this race, including Rep. Stickland and Mr. Bhojani’s opponent, Molly Maddux, to refrain from derogatory anti-Muslim rhetoric that puts politics ahead of our human dignity and the health of our shared community.”
Rev. Steve Heyduck - Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Euless
Rev. Philip Rhodes - Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Hurst
Rev. Amy Tate-Almy, AFC - Associate Pastor, City Point United Methodist Church
Rev. Ken Ehrke - Pastor, Embrace United Church of Christ
Rev. Jaime Kowlessar - Senior Pastor, City Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church
Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen - Rabbi, Temple Emanu-El
Rev. Ray Jordan - Senior Pastor, Central Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Michael Gregg - Pastor, Royal Lane Baptist Church
Rev. Roy Atwood - Pastor, St. Stephen United Methodist Church
Rev. Manda Adams - Pastor, First Community Church, United Church of Christ
Rev. Becky David Hensley - Associate Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church
Rev. Ben A. David Hensley - Associate Pastor, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church
Charles L. Aaron - Associate Director of the Intern Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University