ASERVIC Statement on the Terrorist Attacks across Sri Lanka

ASERVIC Statement on the Terrorist Attacks on Easter Sunday in Christian Churches and Hotels across Sri Lanka

April 21, 2019

We at the Association for Spiritual Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC), a division of the American Counseling Association, were once again heartbroken and outraged to hear about the coordinated terrorist attacks that took place on Easter Sunday morning at Christian Churches and hotels across Sri Lanka where over 300 people lost their lives and many more were seriously injured. We send our thoughts of compassion and healing to the victims, their families and friends, the first responders, the Christian Community, and to all in Sri Lanka and across the globe affected by this senseless act of violence and hate.

However, this is not the only recent attack on Christian churches. A few short weeks ago, three churches in a Louisiana parish were burned in an act of violence. And just today, there was another attack on Jewish worshippers in a synagogue in suburban San Diego. This is the third such message we’ve composed regarding hate crimes against religious groups in the past 8 months. To restate our position- ASERVIC recognizes the important psychological impact of religious and spiritual beliefs to one’s development and well-being and is dedicated to eliminating conditions that lead to any form of discrimination and encouraging awareness and appreciation of diverse belief systems. ASERVIC seeks to create an environment that empowers and enables the expression, exploration, development, and research of evolving spiritual, ethical, and religious values as they relate to the person, to society, and to the profession of counseling and human development. We seek to engage in activities that build relationships and bring the world closer to a harmonious state. We strongly condemn such senseless acts of violence and are committed to addressing hate across all communities, wherever we see it. We join our friends in the Christian and Jewish communities in mourning the victims of these horrendous attacks and will continue our fight to eradicate bigotry in all of its forms. If we remain silent, then those who champion hate, fear, and division will win.

We realize in times such as these that writing statements is not enough. Words must be followed by actions that facilitate enduring change. ASERVIC is actively working to live out our mission in a way that contributes to respectful and peaceful interactions through dialogue, education, and advocacy. We seek input, ideas, and suggestions from you, our members and the community, as to what might be helpful to implement in order to effect change.

May those who died rest in peace and may we unite and strengthen all communities to stand up to all forms of hatred and oppression.

Leila Roach, Ph.D., 2018-2019 ASERVIC President

L. Marinn Pierce, Ph.D., 2018-2019 ASERVIC President-Elect

Claudia Sadler-Gerhardt , Ph.D., 2018-2019 ASERVIC Past-President