Bishop Oliveto calls conference to stand in solidarity with Muslim neighbors

February 03, 2017
On Feb. 3, 2017, Bishop Karen Oliveto released a statement to the Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church, calling on followers of Jesus to stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors. The full text of the Bishop's Statement is below: 

In December 2016, a call went out to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters due to the increased violence experienced by the community as then-candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the country. All Americans were asked to stand in solidarity by posting a picture with the sign “We Are All Muslim”.

I believe that Jesus calls us to stand with those who are oppressed and on the margins. And so I posted on social media a picture of myself with that hashtag. I was unprepared for the response this statement of love would generate. I received hundreds of tweets and posts with the vilest of messages, from “I hope you are raped” to “go be beheaded”. By standing in solidarity, I learned about the viciousness of Islamophobia and racism.

Today, as Islamophobia and racism continues to assault our Muslim brothers and sisters, The United Methodist Church Immigration Task force has asked us all to stand together on solidarity once more. May we all reach out to members of our human family who are Muslim. They are under incredible stress as they seek to live in peace in the US--the hatred, violence and incivility they face each day is overwhelming. If there are no Muslims in your community, teach your neighbors about this faith, speak out against racism and Islamophobia, and model what welcoming the stranger looks like. As followers of Jesus, we can do no less.

Stay loving, friends!
Bishop Karen

(Side note: this picture was posted out of context by someone as a way to use Islamophobia and racism to rile those discontent with my election as bishop. Because of the distribution of this picture, people have left their local United Methodist churches).