The Commission of Religious Leaders (CORL) issued the following statement Jan. 11:
Our respective faith traditions require that we make moral distinctions in our lives between the permitted and the prohibited. We distinguish between civil discourse and malicious denigration, peaceful protest and insurrection. We cannot be silent when we hear and see those who willingly violate the core values of our democracy. As faith leaders, we preach from our pulpits and in our communities that words have consequences. We understand the responsibility of communicating truth, justice and loving kindness. What we say with our mouths may influence what others do with their hands.
We expect our President and those in positions of leadership to create common ground where we can respectfully disagree with one another without demonizing an opponent as the enemy. The bronze Statue of Freedom crowns the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., as a beacon of hope and union for all Americans. Freedom of speech does not permit or condone incitement or insurgency. The storming of the U.S. Capitol is unjustifiable and those who perpetrated this violence must be lawfully punished.
We commend our Congressional leaders who in a bipartisan decision reconvened following the desecration and dangerous display of violence to certify the electoral results, demonstrating to the world that our democracy will not be deterred by anyone seeking its destruction.
We pray that President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will lead our country with decency and dignity so that we may continue to live in a democracy not a mob-ocracy, with room for all to respect one another.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chair
Rev. Dr. A.R. Bernard Sr., President
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Vice President