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June 25, 2018

Tacoma, Washington

Dear Members of the Tacoma and Pierce County Communities,

We write as people of faith and conscience from the greater Tacoma area to offer a strong and
public condemnation of the hateful beliefs and actions which targeted the Chùa Phước Huệ
Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Center as reported in the Tacoma News Tribune on Friday,
June 21, 2018. The fact that the person arrested in this case chose to invoke his faith as a
Christian as a part of his racist and anti-Buddhist attack on our neighbors demands that we
speak out.

To those who are a part of the Chùa Phước Huệ Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Center, and
the broader community of both Vietnamese and Buddhist neighbors, we offer our grief and our
support to you, and our condemnation of the hateful acts of this individual.

To be clear: the use of faith to attack others is abhorrent and offensive to us as local faith
leaders. This incident occurs amidst rising national tides of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and
anti-immigrant bigotry, a context that makes it critical that we invite all people to rise up
against any use of faith to inspire violence and hate. We call upon the people of Tacoma and
Pierce County to join us in committing anew to create a community in which all people, of all
faiths and cultures, are welcome as neighbors and friends. We call upon the people of Tacoma
and Pierce County to work with us to create a community in which hate crimes such as this are
not only unacceptable but are eradicated from our region. This is an aspirational and
challenging set of invitations, but we hope and trust our community can rise to this moment.

Those of us who are Christian particularly grieve the beliefs voiced by the individual who
committed this attack, and reject those beliefs and his action as un-Christian and antithetical to
the faith as we understand it. We call upon all Christian clergy and preachers to be mindful of
the ways in which the power of our words can inspire individuals to act out in hate and
violence. We call upon all our siblings in Christ, persons of all denominations and churches, to
commit to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to remember the many teachings across the arc
of the Christian Bible that direct us to offer love, generosity, and hospitality to immigrants and
strangers in our communities.

We invite people of all faiths and spiritualities, all people of good will and care from the full and
wonderful breadth of our community, to join us in affirming this statement and these calls to
inclusion and care for all people in our community.

With great respect and care,

Rev. Dave Wright, United Methodist clergy, affiliated with Immanuel Presbyterian Church
and Mason United Methodist Church
Rev. Christy Fisher, Executive Director, Tacoma College Ministries
Rev. Dave Brown, Pastor, Immanuel Presbyterian Church
Rev. Sarah Wiles, Pastor, Bethany Presbyterian Church
Mike Yoder, Executive Director, Associated Ministries
Turan Kayoglu, Professor and Advisor to the Muslim Student Association, UW-Tacoma
Rev. Linda Hart, Minister, Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Association
Megan Kilpatrick, ARNP-CNS, MSN, AOCNS, Mason United Methodist Church
Renee Meschi, Harvest Pierce County Program Coordinator, Pierce Conservation District
Bishop Rick Jaech, Southwestern Washington Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America
Rachel DeMotts, Tacoma Shambhala Meditation Group
Takashi Miyaji, Minister, Tacoma Buddhist Temple
Kevin Glackin Coley, Director, St. Leo’s Food Connection
Sandy Widley, Interfaith Engagement, Associated Ministries
Skylar Bihl, Laity, First United Methodist Church of Olympia
Rev. Jen Rude, University Pastor, Pacific Lutheran University
Melanie Denise Cunningham, Greater Tacoma Peace Laureate
Olivia Wilhite, Director of Youth, Children and Family Ministries, Immanuel Presbyterian
Church
Dr. Michael Benitez, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, University
of Puget Sound
Rev. Karen Yokota Love, Mason United Methodist Church
Rev. Jenny Rake-Marona, PC(USA) Honorably Retired
Kristina Sinks, Senior Interfaith Coordinator for Christian Life, University of Puget Sound
Aneelah Afzali, Executive Director, MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network)
Rabbi Bruce Kadden, Temple Beth El
Rev. Nancy Gowler, Minister, First Christian Church of Puyallup
Rev. Karin Van Vlack, Zen Buddhist chaplain and lay member of Tahoma UU Congregation
Rev. Barbara Blaisdell, Senior Pastor, First Christian Church of Tacoma
Rev Jo Dene Romeijn-Stout, Sunrise United Methodist Church, Federal Way
Jasmin Samy, Executive Director, CAIR-Washington
Barbara Gorzinski, Chair, Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, St. Leo’s Catholic Parish,
Tacoma, WA
Rachelle Wilson, First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ
Elise DeGooyer, Co-Director, Faith Action Network
Rev. Paul Benz, Co-Director, Faith Action Network
Allison Shapiro, President, Jewish Student Union, University of Puget Sound
The Islamic Center of Tacoma, Br. Marotha Pasha
Rachel Haxtema, Pastoral Intern, Bethany Presbyterian Church
Jefferson Mok, City of Tacoma Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
The Rev. Martin Yabroff, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Tacoma
The Rev. Nathan Sutton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Kristina Gonzalez, Director of Innovation for an Inclusive Church, Greater NW Area of The
United Methodist Church