In the aftermath of the appalling terrorist attacks in the United States that took the lives of thousands of innocent civilians on September 11, 2001, we wish to express our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for all those throughout the world who have suffered the loss of loved ones due to acts of terrorism.
As a Christian fellowship, we believe that human life is sacred, and that each person should be respected as an individual created in the image of God. We adamantly oppose violence, except in cases of legally sanctioned self-defense.1
It is our belief that God’s love is the solution to all of man’s problems, even in today’s complex society. As Christians, our duties are to love our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of their nationality or religion; to share the news of God’s love and salvation for humanity; and to care for the needy. We deplore the tragic loss of life through acts of violence—and all the more when religious beliefs are cited as a cause or justification for these acts.
We enthusiastically endorse the statement released on September 11, 2001, by the InterFaith Conference (IFC) of Metropolitan Washington:
The InterFaith Conference strongly deplores the misdeeds of those who routinely justify violence on religious grounds; not only do their violent actions cause harm to people who are the creation of God, but also their justifications do violence to the fabric of our respective faiths. Our religions teach us the sanctity of human life; they apply no veneer of respectability to slaughter carried out for personal vengeance or political purpose.
While the Family International [the Family] stands against violence and terrorism, it also recognizes that throughout the world there are people for whom the political system has failed, who are oppressed, discriminated against, disenfranchised, and have lost hope of recognition or help. Too often, their tragic conclusion is that there is no other way to fight for basic human rights than to resort to acts of violence. While we condemn the violence, we call on individuals and nations of the world to put forth vigorous effort to correct situations that give rise to violence and terrorism.
We also recognize that some will ultimately resort to violence and terrorism to impose their ideology on others. We condemn in the harshest terms those who would take innocent lives to impose their own agenda. Such violence needs to stop, but the issues that lead people to resort to such violence also need to be resolved. Both cause and effect need to be addressed to bring about a lasting solution.
We believe that God loves every man, woman, and child unconditionally regardless of race, nationality, culture, creed, or religion. God sent Jesus Christ to all humankind with a message of love, which, if practiced and adhered to, can solve the world’s problems. It is our prayer that humankind will follow that principle and achieve just peace for all.
It is our hope and prayer that the world will seek an end to tragic acts of violence, which cause such devastating losses. We were active participants in aid efforts after the World Trade Center tragedy in New York City, as well as after the Bali bombings in Indonesia (2002), and we have devoted our lives to the service of God and humankind in the hope of making a difference in the world, aiding the needy, and preaching the message of God’s love and salvation.
1 See also the Family’s statement, “Our Position Against Violence.”
Lobenstine, Rev. Dr. Clark. “InterFaith Conference Statement.” The Islamic Center, Washington, D.C., 11 Sep. 2001.