The past year has been very challenging for our nation as we suffered through natural disasters of epic proportions, mass shootings and terrorist attacks. Fortunately, Americans are resilient.
In difficult times it is especially important to seek out moments of joy. The year-end holidays provide special opportunities to celebrate with family and friends and to gain strength from religious observances.
However, as leaders of diverse faiths in metropolitan Detroit, we believe that this is not only a time to take comfort in the familiar but to reach out to our broader communities. We are heartened by the many congregations and individuals who make special efforts to help less fortunate individuals during the holiday season, as well as the people of faith who actively seek to change society so that all people can be self-sustaining.
As citizens, we are also responsible for supporting the values of our democracy — respecting the rights of free speech and religious freedom, and standing up for vulnerable members of society including minorities, immigrants and those marginalized for their faith.
At its best, the American spirit is generous and open and we must not falter in maintaining that outlook. We must encourage ourselves and others to be open-minded and welcoming. We must discourage angry personal attacks and do everything in our power to create opportunities for living together harmoniously.
We call on our community to answer intolerance with goodwill; live by faith and hope, not fear; seek understanding and friendship; and stand with those facing prejudice and injustice. If we embody these shared values, we are confident that America will be a model for the world.
Robert A. Bruttell, chairman
Raman Singh, president
InterFaith Leadership Council
of Metropolitan Detroit