Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser condemned recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y.; Laguna Woods, Calif.; and Dallas, Texas.
The Buffalo mass shooting that killed 10 and wounded 3 more on Saturday in a predominantly Black neighborhood was undoubtedly motivated by racism and hatred. The motivations for other recent mass shootings are less clear. A gunman killed one parishioner and injured five more on Sunday at Geneva Presbyterian Church – described as a predominantly Taiwanese congregation – in Laguna Woods, Calif., before he was subdued by congregants. Officials have not released a motive or said whether the attack was “hate-related.” In Dallas, police are investigating a “pattern of shootings at Asian businesses,” conceding on Friday after the third such shooting that “there may be a link to hate.” Thankfully, no deaths have been reported in the Texas shootings.
Laser issued the following statement:
“Americans United is heartbroken and outraged at the extremist violence and hate that continues to fester in our country and that especially targets Black, Asian and other communities of color. There can be no freedom for any of us in America until we are all free to attend church, shop for groceries or go to a hair salon without fear that we will be harmed because of who we are, what we look like or what religion we practice.
“The white nationalist, antisemitic ideology that motivated the shooter who targeted Black people in Buffalo, N.Y., may not have been exactly the same creed used to rationalize the fatal shooting at a predominantly Taiwanese Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods, Calif., on Sunday or the latest in a string of shootings at Asian businesses near Dallas, Texas. But hate fuels hate, and dangerous white nationalism and religious extremism are a growing threat to our freedom, to our democracy and to our lives.
“Americans United will never stop fighting for an America that fulfills its promise of freedom without favor and equality without exception for everyone.”
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications