A group of 13 pastors read a press release today, condemning Fresno Unified School District President Brooke Ashjian's recent statement. The release states:
THE COALITION STANDS IN OPPOSITION TO THE REMARKS AND VIEWPOINTS OF MR. ASHJIAN AND DEMAND THAT HE BE CENSURED OR REMOVED AS SCHOOOL BOARD PRESIDENT.
For Immediate Release:
We, as representatives of many faith communities, are in shock by the remarks that President Ashjian read into the official minutes of last Wednesday’s School Board meeting. It is clear from his remarks that he has nothing but contempt for the LGBTQ community—especially the most vulnerable, some who happen to be LGBTQ children.
To compare the LGBTQ community to mass murderers (Ottoman Turks) is reprehensible. His remarks have done serious damage to the Board. Many of our communities of faith have LGBTQ members, some who are even Armenian. His remarks aimed at vilifying and dehumanizing those who sought to hold him accountable for his prejudicial words concerning the LGBTQ community cannot be ignored or tolerated.
We as faith leaders demand that at the MINIMUM the Board publicly censure Mr. Ashjian and PREFERABLY remove him from the presidency of the Board. Your inactions or actions will either condone his comments, sending a chilling message to the students of the district that it is OK to hate, or they will affirm the diversity and beauty of all our children regardless of their ancestry or sexual orientation.
Rev. Bill Knezovich, Pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop Sierra Pacific Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr. Norman Broadbent, United Church of Christ Clergy
Rev. Steve Ratzlaff (retired pastor), Mennonite Community Church
Rev. Karen Stoffers-Pugh, Wesley United Methodist Church
Jim Grant, Director, Social Justice Ministry, Diocese of Fresno
Rev. Akiko Miyake-Stoner, United Methodist Clergy
The Rev. Ara R. Guekguezian
Rabbi Rick Winer
Rev. Dr. Chris Breedlove, Pastor of Community United Church of Christ
Rev. Tim Kutzmark, Pastor of Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno
Rev. Sophia DeWitt, United Church of Christ Clergy
Robin Carlson, United Church of Christ Commissioned Minister of Christian Education