Faith Leaders Turn to Twitter to Express Prayers, Solidarity with the People of Paris


People of goodwill are seeking multiple ways to express their sorrow for what has happened in Paris and show their solidarity with them, Parham writes. (Photo: Maya-Anais Yataghene/Wikimedia Commons)

As soon as reports appeared on the Paris attacks, the global faith community turned to Twitter to express solidarity for those who suffered and to pray for the victims and their families.

Catholic News Agency offered an early tweet: "Join us as we #PrayForParis."

I retweeted their tweet: "Catholic News Agency calls for prayer for Paris. Baptists readily join in praying for Paris."

Baylor University, the world's largest Baptist university, tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris and others affected by this tragedy."

Lebanese Baptist leader Nabil Costa tweeted his prayers for Paris, as did Texas Baptist pastor Taylor Sandlin.

The Assemblies of God tweeted: "I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me (Psalm 120:1 NIV) #PrayForParis."

Missouri Baptist pastor Danny Chisholm added his prayers for Paris.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship tweeted that they were praying for Paris and Beirut with a link to a prayer by Josh Speight.

Ingrid Mattson, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, tweeted, "Sending love and solidarity for the people of #Paris. What a horrible night."

Mattson is an interviewee in the EthicsDaily.com documentary, "Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims," that aired on ABC-TV stations.

European Baptist Federation General Secretary Tony Peck tweeted, "In grief and prayer we stand with the people of Paris and France today. Goodness is stronger than evil."

"Faced with hatred, express love. Faced with horror, show compassion. Faced with the unspeakable, pray! Our churches are in solidarity," is a rough translation of the tweet by the Federation Baptiste.

Mohamed Magid, another "Different Books, Common Word" interviewee, tweeted, "Terrorism is not a religion, it is a cult. All of us should join the international community and stand against it."

Bob Roberts, pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, retweeted a number of tweets by Islamic leaders condemning the attacks.

Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of South Africa, tweeted, "Our prayers and laments and condolences" are with the people of Paris.

Another social media platform, Facebook, also carried messages of lament.

European Baptist Federation General Secretary Tony Peck wrote on my page, "We have been in contact with French Baptists and they describe the situation as like 'being at war.' We have assured them of our love and our prayers as the EBF family."

Former Baptist World Alliance president and a leading Baptist advocate for interface between Christians and Muslims, David Coffee, wrote, "Our hearts go out to the French people and we pray that the Christian community in Paris will be given grace and wisdom as they offer support to grieving families."

As tweets and Facebook posts continued, more formal comments and statements followed.

Pope Francis called the attacks in Paris "a piece" of the "piecemeal Third World War."

He said, "I am close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them."

Southern Baptist Convention leader Ed Stetzer wrote, "We are all Parisians."

Exploring how Christians should respond, Stetzer admitted that he could not speak for everyone, but he offered some suggestions - pray, love the hurting, love our enemies, avoid hate, avoid taking anger out on refugees.

He added that Christians "should not call for a war with Islam." He rightfully said, "The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists."

Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, wrote, "I want to express my deepest sympathy to the people of France on this day of senseless terror and tragedy. We hold our sisters and brothers in France and the French people everywhere in our prayers as we ask for peace and reconciliation in a world shattered by violence and horror."

"As Christians, we serve the Prince of Peace. May his message of love and hope transcend the terror our world has felt today," she said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wrote the day after the attack: "This is a global and generational struggle against an evil cult that chooses death and fear. We choose life and hope, to overcome their hate with the power of God's love."

He continued, "In solidarity across all faiths and none, and with all human beings, rather than in the victimization of any, we will find the way to defeat the demonic curse of terrorism. Christians are called, like Jesus, to stand with the suffering and broken and to oppose evil and fear with all their strength."

Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America, said, "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Paris. No religious tradition can ever justify nor condone such ruthless and senseless acts of violence. Our prayers and condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the victims."

French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that what had happened was an "act of war."

Aljazeera America reported that 129 people had been killed and 352 injured with 99 of those listed as critical.

ISIS claimed credit for the attacks and said France would remain a top target.

"Out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris, we have decided to suspend our broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality," Al Gore tweeted.

24 Hours of Reality is a broadcast of music and information about climate change to build support for the U.N. climate talks scheduled for Paris.

People of goodwill are seeking multiple ways to express their sorrow for what has happened in Paris and show their solidarity with them.

The faith community has rightly been at the forefront of lament, naming terrorism as evil and condemning it, refusing to demonize Islam, seeking a better way forward.

Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics. Follow him on Twitter at RobertParham1 and friend him on Facebook.

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