Adopted by the Governing Board, NC Council of Churches, September 21, 2010
The North Carolina Council of Churches represents 6,200 congregations in 17 denominations statewide. The North Carolina Council of Churches condemns all religious violence. As people of Christian faith, we value a teaching common to the Abrahamic faiths, which in the Christian tradition is expressed as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As Christians in a nation largely founded by religious refugees, we value the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and proudly proclaimed worldwide as a foundational principle of United States government and society. For freedom of religion to have substance and integrity, it must extend to people of all faiths.
In that spirit, we are saddened and deeply concerned by the recent controversy regarding the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York, and we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters in affirming their right to build on a site two-and-a-half blocks from Ground Zero. While acknowledging the deep and lasting pain and suffering that the September 11 attacks caused, we stress that Islam, an Abrahamic faith with 1.5 billion adherents worldwide, is not the violent extremism represented by Al Qaeda terrorists. There are many Muslim leaders who have spoken out against the violence of Al Qaeda and who have entered into warm and respectful interfaith dialogue with Jews and Christians. In the struggle against religiously justified violence, these are the kinds of alliances we need to nurture.
As followers of the God whose messengers announced his Son’s imminent arrival with the words “be not afraid,” we explicitly reject public policy based on fear and the divisive zealotry to which it leads, and we urge all people of faith to do the same.