Christian Scientists Respond to Vandalism with Active Prayer

It was sobering for our church members to find a swastika painted on one of our church windows downtown last week (“Las Vegas police investigate…graffiti…” Jan. 30). A subsequent Las Vegas Review-Journal article reported another similar act at a local school. The Christian Science branch church filed a report with local officials, and members continue to include the whole community in prayer.

©Thinkstock/photodisc

Hate is never justified or right. The symbols of hate have no power in or on hearts alive with God’s love. This is our deep conviction both as Christians and Christian Scientists.

The incidents have brought to mind our denomination’s earlier history during the Nazi period. In Germany and the lands it occupied during the Second World War, our churches were forced by the Nazi government to close, and the practice of our religious faith was banned. Some of our church members were arrested. Some lost their lives. Many Christian Scientists from the U.S. fought in the war, and our churches here sent thousands of packages of clothing and food to victims and refugees both during and after the conflict.

In late 1945, our church headquarters in Boston received a letter from the leaders of the Jewish community in Rotterdam, United Synagogues of the Netherlands, which had received some of these packages through the Red Cross: Their letter read in part:

“Years of the deepest sorrow are behind us. Terror and persecution were our daily companions. Our community … sank from twelve thousand to seven hundred souls. In those years of persecution our ideals have sustained us and given us the strength to keep on and lead secretly the remainder of our community. The knowledge that man is created after the image and likeness of God kept alive in us the divine light, the very same divine light that united you with us by your brotherly actions.”

Christian Scientists are very diverse in our political views, but we continue to stand with Jews, Muslims, our fellow Christians, all people of faith — and yes, our secular brothers and sisters as well — in this “very same divine light” that shines in us all.

#