CHICAGO (CNS) — Auxiliary Bishop Albert Rojas of Chicago was one of more than a dozen Catholic signatories in the Chicago area to an ad decrying the “bigotry, intimidation and violence” unleashed since last November’s national election.
“A surge of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and discrimination against immigrants, refugees, African-Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities has threatened the well-being of so many throughout our city and our nation,” said the ad, which appeared May 14 in Chicago Tribune.
The ad, titled, “Out of Many, One — Stand Against Injustice and Hatred,” featured the assent of more than 150 signatories from Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious organizations.
“As religious leaders, we are painfully aware of humanity’s capacity for scapegoating the most vulnerable in times of uncertainty. We refuse to allow our differences to be used as vessels of hatred or targets of oppression,” the ad said.
“We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters and condemn violence and hatred against them and their sacred sites. We also stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters against any attempts to create a Muslim registry. We commit ourselves to protecting the religious freedoms that contribute to our democracy and sustain our spiritual lives.”
The ad said, “We assert and renew our commitment to women. Our traditions may embrace different ideas about gender roles, but we stand together against actions and policies that degrade or restrict women’s lives. We resist a culture that permits sexually predatory behavior and demeaning stereotypes. We celebrate women as leaders and as authors of their own experience. We commit our religious spaces as places where women are welcome, valued, listened to and respected.”
It added, “We assert and renew our commitment to refugees and immigrants, who have always contributed to the civic, economic and cultural life of our nation. We will resist mass deportations of undocumented individuals and fight targeted bans on refugees. We stand in solidarity with communities and municipalities offering sanctuary. Many of our traditions contain sacred narratives of wanderers, and instructions to care for the stranger; how we respond reveals the moral character of our society.”
The signers said they ” assert and renew our commitment to the LGBTQ community. We will not be silent about those who use political power to protect hate speech, refuse civil liberties and deny full participation in our common life based upon sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Among the signers was Viatorian Father Mark Francis, president of Catholic Theological Union, as well as key staffers there: Scott Alexander, chair of its Department of Intercultural Studies and Ministry; Franciscan Sister Dawn Nothwehr, a professor of Catholic theological ethics; Servite Father John Pawlikowski, director of its Catholic-Jewish studies program; and Malka Simkovich, a visiting professor in Jewish studies.
Other Catholic signers included St. Agatha Parish in Chicago and its pastor, Father Larry Dowling; Benedictine Sister Benita Coffey; Brother Jim Fogarty of the Chicago-based Brothers and Sisters of Love; Father Thomas J. Hurley, pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Parish in Chicago, and Rachel Lyons of the parish’s Mission for Social Justice; and Judith Tribett, social justice chair at St. James Cathedral.