LOUISVILLE – In the name of the God who made us all, we cry out against the senseless violence perpetrated in Peshawar, Pakistan by the bombing of the All Saints Church. We mourn the deaths, estimated at almost 90, and the injuries to more than 120 others. We call upon Pakistani authorities to identify the perpetrators of this horror and bring them to justice.
The church itself, completed in 1883, was built to resemble a mosque as a statement of the commitment of the Christian community to unity among people of faith. This violent attack is an affront to people of all faiths, especially to those within the Islamic community who pray and work for peace among the diverse communities within Pakistan.
We acknowledge that the professed perpetrators of this violence have cited political justifications for their act and that the primary Taliban group, the Teheek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has denied involvement. Nonetheless, it remains true that Christians and other religious minorities are all too frequent targets of sectarian violence in Pakistan. We have expressed our concern on other occasions about legislation such as Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws that have provided justification to some for such violence. We urge the government of Pakistan to look again with discernment at those things which may contribute to violent acts against citizens of their country on the basis of their faith and to strengthen security for all Pakistanis.
Above all, we pray for healing grace for all who have been touched by this unspeakable act and call upon the God known to us all to replace the spirit of division and revenge, out of which violence is born, with a spirit of unity and peace in all human hearts.
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)