We invite faith leaders to sign-on to this statement using the link to this online form: https://forms.gle/Du6S8QQPzwX95Xp9A

Statement on Addressing Antisemitism following Florida-Georgia Game

A coordinated campaign of antisemitism marred the annual Florida-Georgia football game played in Jacksonville on October 29, 2022. Signage on highway overpasses leading to and from the Jaguars stadium as well as laser projected messaging at the stadium brazenly denigrated Jewish people. Law enforcement did not intervene. Key publicly elected leaders, including the mayor of Jacksonville and the governor of Florida, both of whom attended the event, did not immediately condemn this antisemitism. Whatever their personal convictions, public officials must speak clearly and without equivocation when such acts of hatred and intolerance are publicly expressed in their presence. Not to condemn the unacceptable when it happens is to give the unacceptable endorsement to spread virally in social media.

As a widely diverse group of faith and religious leaders, we the undersigned find it is critically and existentially important in a free and civil society to speak against antisemitism as well any form of denigration of people based on their religion, origin, gender, language, or physical appearance. With the freedom for us all to pursue our personal interests also comes the responsibility for us all to respect the rights of other in not doing them harm. World religions have long expressed this ideal in their various ways of promoting the Golden Rule: “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Antisemitism and hate speech causes harm and is intended to do harm whenever it is used publicly. Hate speech triggers violence when left unchecked. The realities of such violence are very much before the nation in news headlines that have spanned every corner of the country. The first to speak must be the elected leaders in the highest offices where incidents of hate occur.

We pledge in our own ministries, churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, missions, and agencies to teach and speak out about how antisemitism and other forms of hate speech both harm our neighbor and create an environment in which we too could become similar targets. The genius of the United States of America arises in the pluralistic society it makes possible. We call upon all public officials and political parties to express publicly their support for this pluralism. Without such a clear statement of our common values, the freedoms we all cherish are endangered.

Rev. Dr. Russell L. Meyer
Executive Director
Florida Council of Churches

The Venerable Canon J Fritz Bazin
The Episcopal Church
Diocese of Southeast Florida

Rev. Dr. W. Harvey Jenkins Jr
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister
Florida Conference
United Church of Christ

Rev. Joyce Lieberman
Florida Council of Churches

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton
Ecumenical Officer
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Sandy Messick
Regional Minister
Florida Disciples Regional Church
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop Pedro Suarez
Florida-Bahamas Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Ken Carter
Florida Conference
The United Methodist Church

Rev. Alan Beaver
The united Methodist Church

Beverly G. Ward
Field Secretary for Earthcare
Southeast Yearly Meeting

Rev. Dr. James T. Morris
Presiding Elder, Central Florida
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Dr. Brant S. Copeland
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. James T. Golden, Esq.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Rachel Gunter Shapard
Regional Vice President, Black Belt
Together for Hope

Mr Gregory Matthews Cpa

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter and Stated Clerk
Presbytery of Tropical Florida

Pastors Janet And Keith Grill

Rev. Paul Gibson

Mr Jim Demark

Rev. Dr. Johan Bergh

Pastor Tim Bernard

The Rev.  Gary Lacroix
Interim Pastor
Lamb of God Lutheran – Episcopal Church

Imam Askia Aquil
Board Chair, Cegtba Inc.

Rev. Dr Dennis Meyer

Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson

Rev. Ngan Ling Lung

Pastor Robert Carlson
Ass’t to The Bishop & Director for Evangelical Mission
Florida-Bahamas Synod ELCA

Pastor Harry Middleton
United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. S. R. Boler

Rev. Dr. Lloyd A. Hunter Lloyd A. Hunter

Rev. Dr.  Gilbert Friend-Jones

Reverend Jeffery Wheeler

Dr. Harold W. Mcswain

The Rev. Candace Thomas
Designated Term Pastor,
Christ Congregational UCC

Follow this link to sign-on to the statement: https://forms.gle/Du6S8QQPzwX95Xp9A