June 1, 2009
Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. William G. Sinkford issued the following statement regarding the murder of Dr. George Tiller:
I am shocked and outraged by the brutal murder of Dr. George Tiller. America has lost a decent and courageous man. My heart aches for Dr. Tiller’s grieving family and for the congregation of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, where the shooting took place. This extreme act serves as a heartbreaking reminder that our churches have become increasingly vulnerable to ideological violence in recent years.
Last summer a deeply disturbed gunman killed two people and injured several more when he fired gunshots into a Sunday service at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. He, too, claimed to be acting on political grievances, in his case a bitter resentment of liberals and homosexuals.
That was not the first time members of our faith have been targeted by violent extremists. In 1994 Dr. John Bayard Britton was killed outside the Ladies’ Center in Pensacola, Florida. His escort, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Herman Barrett, was also killed, and his wife, June Barrett, was injured in the shooting. The Barretts were Unitarian Universalists, religious people whose service to women and doctors was an expression of their deep faith in the right of individuals to make difficult moral decisions, often under agonizing circumstances.
I am profoundly grateful for dedicated people of conscience like Dr. Tiller, and I pray that one day all of them may live and work in safety.
The Unitarian Universalist Association is a faith community of more than 1,000 self-governing congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance and social justice.
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Janet Hayes, Public Relations Director
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Last updated on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
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