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October 27, 2018

Interfaith Conference Stands with Jewish Communities,
Condemns Anti-Semitic Violence at Pittsburgh Synagogue

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee strongly condemns the anti-Semitic violence carried out against worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Although this atrocity has not taken place in our geographic area, we are aware of the effect such acts of terror can have on our local community.

Our prayers, our support, and our commitment to continue to act in solidarity are with those in Pittsburgh and our local Jewish community as they mourn and continue to struggle with the immoral scourge of anti-Semitism. The Interfaith Conference reaffirms our common commitment to the inherent dignity of every human being as made by a loving Creator and recommits itself to peacemaking and justice among our constituent bodies and beyond.

The Interfaith Conference is a 48-year-old nonprofit organization through which the regional leaders and adherents of 18 member faiths and denominations:

  • Dialogue to build personal relationships
  • Conduct public programming to counter hate and fear while fostering interfaith, intercultural and interracial understanding, tolerance and friendship
  • Work together on hunger, unemployment, environmental challenges and other social issues to create a better society for everyone

Nonmember faiths and denominations also help plan and participate


A Season of Action Against Hate

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee calls on all people of every faith and philosophy in Southeastern Wisconsin to stand against hate and uphold the dignity of all people during a Season of Action Against Hate, beginning with the collective Anti-Hate Weekend, Oct. 13-15, and continuing to Thanksgiving, when Americans of diverse races, genders, and creeds come together in appreciation of our great nation.

During this season against hate, we ask faith leaders and others to teach, preach, and dialogue about the rise of hate and how to build a community of compassion. This is occurring in conjunction with the Anti-Hate Weekend, a community-wide mobilization to reject hate and build a compassionate community.

Faith communities – in houses of worship and on the streets – are powerful forces for the common good. The Interfaith Conference charges faith leaders to galvanize the community with the power of their particular faith tradition to reject hate in our community.

Faith leaders are invited to join the Facebook group, Teaching and Preaching Against Hate SE Wisconsin, , where they can share sermons, thoughts, programs, and ideas.

The Interfaith Conference also is urging leaders and members of all faiths to create and submit short videos of one or two minutes during the Season Against Hate and to send them to Videos should respond to one of the following prompts:

  • What does your faith tradition teach about hate and intolerance, about loving the stranger?
  • How does your faith tradition inform how you behave toward people of other faiths?
  • Share an insight about compassion that you want others to know.

Authorized by Interfaith Cabinet. Approved by Interfaith Executive Committee Oct. 12, 2017

Interfaith Conference statement
on hate in Charlottesville

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee is urging people of all faiths throughout southeastern Wisconsin and beyond to speak out and stand guard against the white supremacist hatred that violently burst from the underbelly of our American culture in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

These hate groups are trying the soul of our society, and these are not the times for people of faith to respond with pious platitudes and lukewarm expressions of concern.

The world is all too familiar with the violent catastrophes that await a nation when racial and religious hatred are not vigorously opposed. Jews are still being vilified by contemporary hate groups. African Americans feel the continuing lash of racism, both subtle and brutal. The Sikh community here has felt the bitter sting of a white supremacist’s gunfire. We need no more reminders that none of us is immune from evil.

Religious leaders should preach out, speak out, and uphold the dignity of every person. People of good will should live up to the highest ideals of their faiths and philosophies and not merely mouth them behind closed doors.

There remains more light than darkness. Many local faiths, denominations, organizations and institutions work long hours to counter injustice, fear, hate, and bigotry. The Interfaith Conference is one of them. Find one. Add your voice. Add your energy. Even in the incredible busyness of our digitally connected lives, do what you can, whenever you can, wherever you can. And do it today. At some point, waiting for one more tomorrow could be too late.

Approved by Interfaith Conference Executive Commitee August 14, 2017

Interfaith Statement on
Beating of Muslim Woman -- April 13, 2017

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee strongly condemns the reported attack this week on a Muslim woman who was walking home from the Islamic Society of Milwaukee’s mosque at S. 13th St. and W. Layton Ave. after early morning prayers. This assault should be vigorously investigated as a hate crime.

Moreover, this is a moment when people throughout our entire metropolitan area should speak out publicly and privately to make it clear that they stand opposed to all words and deeds of hate and violence against any faith. Disrespectful comments pave the way for hate. Small acts of intolerance may lead to more serious ones and ultimately to violence.

While one individual’s heinous act does not define a society, the failure to condemn and oppose bigotry and hate based upon religious differences can. The Conference urges our community to stand for the right of every human being to worship as he or she sees fit without fear of discrimination, hate or violence.

For 47 years, the Interfaith Conference – whose member faiths and denominations now reach across southern and southeastern Wisconsin – has upheld the sacred dignity of every person while opposing hate in all of its forms. We have increasingly presented programs to counter misinformation while providing opportunities for the most effective antidote to hate and intolerance – personal interaction and sharing across religious, racial and cultural lines.

Issued by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee Executive Committee on behalf
of the Interfaith Cabinet (our board of directors).

Interfaith Statement on Hate - Feb. 22, 2017

Diverse leaders of good will and strong faith must stand side by side to oppose a shadowy rise of what must be termed evil. Hate and intolerance are rearing up like emboldened specters, threatening both our core, shared values and the well-being of a nation whose freedoms and opportunities have been a beacon that must not be dimmed.

The leaders of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee strongly condemn the recent series of bomb threats and other anti-Semitic acts that have besieged Jewish community centers and schools here and across the country.

With equal vigor, we abhor similar hate acts directed against Muslims and others who are seen as “different.” The gunshots from a hate-driven assailant who slayed six Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek nearly five years ago still echo in our collective consciousness. Images from a mass shooting of African Americans two years ago at a church in Charleston, S.C., remain vivid.

These happenings are warnings of what already exists. And they are compelling calls to step up, stand up, and live up to the teachings of our faiths and to the ideals that are essential to a free and stable democratic society.

For 47 years, the Interfaith Conference – whose member faiths and denominations now reach across southern and southeastern Wisconsin – has upheld the sacred dignity of every person. We call upon people of all faiths and philosophies to stand even taller with us now.

Issued by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee Executive Committee on behalf
of the Interfaith Cabinet (our board of directors).

Interfaith Statement on Refugees - Jan. 30, 2017

The Executive Committee of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee issued the following statement on behalf of our Cabinet (board of directors):

For almost 50 years, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee has stood together, committed to upholding the dignity of every person and the solidarity of the human community. We believe the recent executive order that would stop the entry of refugees from predominantly Muslim countries is not only detrimental to national security but also contrary to our collective commitment to unity, as well as to our individual faith understandings of what it means to offer hospitality and to welcome the stranger.

For over 200 years, our nation has stood as a beacon of hope for the oppressed of the world. It has been the place that countless generations have looked upon as a land of real opportunity, a place where they can live free and provide for their families without hindrance. Certainly there have been times in our history when we have not afforded these opportunities to everyone. This should not be one of those times.

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