CLUE Response to the Tragedy in San Bernardino, CA

As an intentionally multi-faith economic justice organization seeking better quality of life for working people, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice is heartbroken and motivated by the recent tragedy in San Bernardino, in which fourteen people were slaughtered by a massive use of force by two individuals who are now furthering a growing movement of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Heartbroken, because the senseless violence, which destroyed the lives and families of so many, easily perpetuates the very violence that was unleashed upon our communities. Our grief is amplified by the recognition that the vast majority of those gunned down were members of SEIU or Teamsters, two partner unions central to our commitment to worker justice.

Heartbroken, because our religious coalition is predicated on the fact that All religions believe in Justice. We are Muslim; we are also Jewish, African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, all groups which over the centuries have been blamed for societal ills and scarcities. We know that our faith-rooted commitment to economic justice, beyond nationality, race, creed, age, or any other division, demands that we work together to fix the world.

Motivated, because we are compelled to address the proliferation of guns in our society which make our communities unsafe and leads to underlying fear; with more mass shootings than days per year, the failure of government to regulate and protect us must be addressed.

Now is NOT a time for largescale scapegoating of any one religion; just as all religions believe in justice, so, too, all religions share a common history of some within its ranks undermining its highest ideals; we refuse to point our fingers at Islam or any other religion. Instead we embrace those Muslim and other leaders striving to strengthen their religious institutions, as bastions of justice and compassion for all, as part of our vision for a multi-faith America.

History shows that targeting any one group has led to disproportionate economic disparities for that group; we utterly reject any such de facto collective punishment, and we will not tolerate racial profiling or increased targeted surveillance of people within our society based on their ethnic, religious, or racial identities.

We believe every religious and ethnic group must hold its own community accountable, and that other groups and communities must respect and honor the internal processes to achieve such accountability, supporting from outside efforts in solidarity with the reformers from within. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, bigotry—none of these forces fix anything, and in fact make matters worse. Moreover, by undermining intergroup trust through bigotry, we also undermine our sorely-needed ability to fix our broken economy.

CLUE leaders resolve to confront the grossly inadequate gun laws that leave our communities vulnerable to the spray of deadly guns, bullets and explosives at the hands of individuals and terrorist groups. Economic justice is about quality of life, and where there are stockpiles of weapons, there is stress, depression, distrust, and of course economic disparity.

We pray for the wellbeing of the families of all the victims of this dreadful massacre, lending our loving hearts and communal relationships to provide healing to those traumatized. Furthermore, we demand that city, county, state and federal legislators address gun violence by passing laws to protect our weary communities. Finally, we stand committed to deeper intergroup relationship-building between different elements within our communities, furthering our multi-faith, multi-ethnic, and multiracial vision for a Just and Sacred Society.

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