Violence against women is not just a crime but a sin.
Tuesday, Oklahoma clergy leaders representing an array of denominations and faiths agreed with that message, one they intend to share with their congregations and the community as a whole.
"Violence not only against women in all its forms is an affront to God, said the Rt. Rev. Raphael Moore of St. Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Jones.
Moore was among a group of about 35 religious leaders who gathered at the state Capitol at the request of state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City. Each leader signed a declaration of opposition to violence against women a move Hamilton called a "historic demonstration of religious unity.
"Violence against half the human race which is treated with indifference is a crime against God. It is a sin, Hamilton said.
The legislator asked those gathered to support the statewide Day of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women on March 6 by praying and spreading the anti-violence message to their congregations and communities.
Floyd M. Schoenhals, bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Lutheran Synod, said clergy have long needed to take a stand on the issue.
"It is past time for us to speak up and to speak out about violence against women, he said.
The Rev. Malcolm Coby, pastor of Victory Temple Church of God in Christ World Ministry Center and a bishop with Church of God in Christ southeast Oklahoma jurisdiction, said religious leaders have a duty to hear the "silent screams of women those outside the church along with those who sit in the church pews.
Russell Fox, rabbi at Emmanuel Synagogue, said Tuesday's interfaith gathering was a good way to acknowledge that faith community leaders share "mutual responsibility to address violence against women.Archive ID: 2244997