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The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA condemns last week’s bombing of the St. Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church compound in Gaza, grieves for those who were injured in the attack, and prays for the eternal memory of those who were killed.  We are astounded by the types of war crimes we are witnessing, including the killing of civilians – men, women, and children – whether by gunfire or by deprivation of life-sustaining humanitarian assistance; the indiscriminate missile strikes; the targeted bombings; the destruction of hospital facilities; the cutting off of food, fuel, gas, and water; and the forced displacement of more than 1 million people. Now we are confronted with the reality that houses of worship, where civilians find shelter and solace in the face of such violence, are also considered targets.  When will this violence end? 

When one commits violence against another human being, one commits violence against God, for it is in God’s image that human beings were created, and in this reality that human dignity is rooted.  We know that violence begets more violence. Whether because of gun violence against countless people in communities across our country or the wholesale killing of thousands in war, an assault on humanity, on human dignity, on God, takes place.  Yet rather than end the carnage in the face of such violence, the carnage continues.  And it continues on and on and on. 

Today, in the name of the God that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all call upon; for the sake of God’s people who live in the hope only God can provide; and for God’s peace in the land we all call holy: the National Council of Churches once again calls upon all decision-makers in this conflict to end the violence, to be mindful of innocent civilians, especially the most vulnerable, to cease hostilities, and to seek peace and pursue it.