Submitted by Bedford Interfaith Clergy Network
Jan. 8, 2021—Like many of you, we watched Wednesday’s events unfold in Washington DC with hearts full of sadness, anger, and deep concern. We accept that public protests of strongly felt grievances can at times become disorderly and chaotic. But what can never be tolerated in civil society is the use of violence to threaten, intimidate, or disrupt the functioning and continuity of elected representatives doing the People’s business. That is not protest. That is an effort to undermine the very sources of our common liberty: our Constitution and those sworn to uphold it on our behalf. We condemn such violence in no uncertain terms.
Our prayers today are with all those who live and work in our nation’s capital. We give thanks for those who helped restore safety and order, allowing our representatives to continue their work on all of our behalf. We pray for the recovery of those injured in body, mind, or spirit. We mourn for those who have died. We commend this nation to God in our prayers in the coming days.
We note that among the many images and symbols used by those who stormed the Capitol was the Bedford Flag. While we do not know who chose to use that symbol or why, it is one that many of us hold dear in this community. Among the many disturbing questions the Bedford Flag’s appearance there raises is why this violent uprising, which included several symbols of white supremacist movements such as nooses and Confederate flags, also included our flag. As those charged with our spiritual leadership, we decry the use of the Bedford Flag in this way.
As we continue to pray for the peaceful transition of power, we invite each of us in our community, with whatever strong opinions and beliefs we may hold, to recommit ourselves to engaging our common life in ways that promote civility, constructive conversation, and the common good.
Bedford’s Interfaith Clergy Network includes Rabbi Susan Abramson; Pastor John Castricum; Tracy Claudio, HPs; Rev. John Gibbons; Rev. Annie Gonzalez Milliken; Bishop Jared Koyle; The Rev. Christopher Wendell; and Rev. Alexx Wood