The following comes from a December 9 Angelus article by R.W. Dellinger:
SAN BERNARDINO — Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral was dark as the men and women of different faiths walked down the center aisle of the mission-revival-style church. The names of the 14 victims of the December 2 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino were read by an unseen woman, with an equal number of six-inch white candles lit on a table before the altar. And the haunting high voice of a soloist sang the civil rights theme “We Shall Overcome.”
After welcoming the interfaith congregation to his church, Bishop Gerald Barnes stressed that “we do not want our enemies to win over our hearts, to terrify our future. We do not want our hearts to turn against any person, any race, any religion. And so I invite you this evening to be open to the Lord. Let your heart and your mind be open to God’s message for you, for our community and our families. Be open to where our God, a God of mercy and love, leads us.”
Imam Dr. Aslam Abdullah, representing the community’s Muslim community, said the killers — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29 — wanted people from different faiths, like those present, to hate each other, to be disunited. But they failed because “we substitute love … we are united.”
“Every human life is precious,” Dr. Abdullah said in a rising voice. “And we should take care to defend that human life, even if we have to give our own life for somebody. We believe that. We believe that each one of us has a right to live the way God wants us to live. We believe that life must be protected. And as people belonging to different religions, we hold that. Life is precious.”
Rabbi Jay Sherwood, from Congregation Emanu El, noted how the prophet Isaiah told the Jewish people that “violence will not be heard in your land.” And he said the key was “heard,” because words usually come before acts of violence.
“When we let somebody speak against those who are different from us or whose religion is different from ours, we let the terrorists win,” said Rabbi Sherwood. “When we speak of closing our borders, rather than letting families fleeing violence to seek security, we let the terrorists win. When we allow our elected officials to do nothing about gun violence and hatred, we let the terrorists win. But we will overcome.”