Dear Sisters and Brothers –
I am following up to my pastoral letter in last weekend’s bulletin. In it, I addressed the tragic and unacceptable events in Charlottesville, VA, condemning in the strongest terms the sin of racism and the ideologies and actions of the alt-right, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.
Unfortunately, a group calling itself – misleadingly – Patriot Prayer has received tentative approval from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to hold a “free speech” rally this Saturday, August 26, at Crissy Field. Although the group insists it is not tolerant of bigotry, its prior events have drawn white supremacists and others espousing far-right ideologies.
As I said in my letter, such values are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus and as Christians we must stand in opposition to these views. Some will feel themselves called to do so this weekend. It is for those people that I am providing the most recent information on prayerful and nonviolent counter demonstrations.
I must note that federal park officials are reevaluating whether or not to proceed with the event due to concerns for potential violence. Anyone considering a response to the event this weekend must make safety a priority. I encourage people to stay away from Crissy Field. Note also that I do not know if these events will proceed if the rally is canceled, though I expect they will.
Thursday, August 24:
· St. Agnes Parish is hosting a “Call to Prayer and Public Witness” at 6:00 p.m. on the steps of the church and a Non-Violent Resistance training at 7:00 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/events/142199463043359/?ti=icl
Friday, August 25:
· The San Francisco Human Rights Commission is sponsoring a rally entitled “Unite Against Hate” at 12:00 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza.https://www.facebook.com/sfgov.oceia/posts/2003231539896510
· The San Francisco Interfaith Council is hosting a “Gathering Against Hate” at 5:30 p.m. at Congregation Emanu-El, on Lake Street.
Saturday, August 26:
· Grace Cathedral is hosting an “Interfaith Prayer for Peace” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Details will be on their website.
These and other possible alternative, positive events will be posted on the City of San Francisco’s website.
As Christians, we believe that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. Let us pray for all the children of God, that our hearts may be broken open to this truth, and that the compassion and mercy of God make their home ever more deeply in them.