The following post is written by the Rev. Ken Chumbley in response to the most recent hate attacks leveled at the local Islamic Center. Rev. Chumbley is the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, which has been a strong ally with our congregation and others that are affiliated with the Springfield Interfaith Alliance.
At this week’s meeting of our Interfaith Alliance, a member of the Islamic Center reported on the latest hate attack on her faith community. Someone had left an anonymous threatening letter at the center. The writer, she told us, said that Muslims don’t belong in Springfield. He called for “death to Islam.” And he left behind not only his odious letter, but also three partially burned Korans, the Muslim sacred scriptures. One of our constitutional rights as Americans is freedom of religion. Every person may worship the God of his or her choice or worship no God at all. This right is one for which Americans have fought and died to preserve throughout our history. Indeed, America was first settled by people who fled religious persecution in Europe. These dissenters came here for refuge from religious intolerance and for the freedom to worship as they wanted. And yet today, religious and political extremists, who are ignorant of American history and the Constitution or indifferent to them, are attacking Islam. Read full column here