Litany for grieving together when religion is used for violence – Shoulder to Shoulder in Interfaith Witness

Shoulder to Shoulder in Interfaith Witness is a voluntary association of people of diverse faiths who stand together whenever religion is exploited and misused for violent purposes. This litany was used to grieve the use of religion for violence in the wake of the bombing in Boston.

Shoulder to Shoulder in Interfaith Witness

In small towns across the world, there are volunteer fire departments that respond to put out the fires and save their communities.  Shoulder to Shoulder in Interfaith Witness is a volunteer fire department that responds to a different and even more deadly fire.  When religion is misused for violent purposes anywhere in the world, we and other groups like us gather to grieve the misuse of religion and bear witness to a future when religions will stand together in compassion.  Shoulder to Shoulder is a strategy that began in 2012 with the interfaith forum of Columbus, IN, in the wake of the massacre at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  Since that inaugural event, we have gathered to grieve and witness together whenever religion has been misused for violent purposes.


Leader: We stand shoulder to shoulder, people of faith, people of different faiths.  We do not share the same views of Ultimate Reality, but we do share one belief:

All:  The one belief we share is that the neighbor is sacred.

Leader:  Today we come together to grieve and to celebrate.  Firstly, we acknowledge the darkness that has been cast over our nation and the world by the tragedy in Boston.

All: We lament the unnecessary loss of life in Boston, and we grieve for those who have been injured.

Leader: Our grieving extends to the young men who perpetrated this tragedy.  Lives that could have contributed to the betterment of the world have been lost.

All:  Most of all, we grieve the abuse of religion that this tragedy represents.

Leader:  Our grief extends especially to our Muslim neighbors and friends whose hearts have been broken by this tragedy.


All:  May our Muslim sisters and brothers know that we stand with them shoulder to shoulder in affirming that the true task of religion is to awaken compassion.  We stand together and declare that we will never accept religiously-inspired violence as normal.