Religious leaders joined some members of the IPSTL Cabinet in signing on to an open letter to Gov. Mike Parson in response to his recent statement declaring he “would not have nominated someone who does not share the same Christian values” (Public statement about the Missouri Senate’s failure to confirm Don Kauerauf as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, February 1, 2022).
February 4, 2022
Governor Michael L. Parson, PO Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Dear Governor Parson,
The members of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis were deeply disappointed and profoundly concerned to read your recent statement in which you declared “[you] would not have nominated someone who does not share the same Christian values” (Public statement about the Missouri Senate’s failure to confirm Don Kauerauf as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, February 1, 2022).
The Interfaith Partnership STL represents many communities of faith and conscience in the St. Louis metropolitan area, which includes great Missourians that come from a variety of religious and nonreligious backgrounds – Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, as well as Christian. The members of Interfaith Partnership STL share the values of most Missourians: being a good neighbor, respecting all people, and being active and engaged members of their community.
It is beyond distressing to think that you might not consider or nominate well qualified individuals from serving our great state based on their religious beliefs. People of all faiths and no faith, in a variety of occupations and vocations, make significant contributions to our state and community every day. Excluding people from public service opportunities based on a religious litmus test is equally as damaging as the misinformation, lies, and attacks that you wish to denounce. Missourians deserve better.
We will be working and praying for honor and integrity in your administration and hope that you will work to build a more kind, compassionate, and inclusive Missouri, where everyone feels valued and safe, and we all can flourish together as neighbors.
- Rev. Howard Abernathy, Parks Chapel A.M.E. Church
- Rev. Susan Andrews, Webster Groves Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Mike Angell, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion
- Imam Ali Bagegni, Imam Council of Metro St. Louis
- Rabbi Jim Bennett, Congregation Shaare Emeth
- Rev. Kevin J. Cameron, Parkway United Church of Christ, MO Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ
- Dr. James Croft, Ethical Society of St. Louis
- Ankit Darda, Jain Center of Greater St. Louis
- Dr. Helal Ekramuddin, Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
- Rev. Jennifer Harris Dault, St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship
- Bishop Bob Farr, Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church
- Rabbi Amy Feder, St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association
- Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth
- Dr. Sofia Grewal, Sikh Study Circle of St. Louis
- Rev. Jeffrey Groene
- Apostle Janne Grover, Community of Christ
- Rev. Kate Hanch, PhD., First St. Charles UMC
- Rev. Dieter U. Heinzel, Ph.D.
- Rev. Bart Hildreth, Ph.D., First St. Charles United Methodist Church
- Cynthia Holmes, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
- Bishop Deon K. Johnson, The Episcopal Diocese of MO
- Rev. Nicholas Knoblauch, Zion United Church of Christ
- Rev. Lisa Martin, St. John United Church of Christ—St. Charles
- Rev. Kim Mason, First Unitarian Church of St. Louis
- Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis
- Rev. Jim Poinsett, Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis
- Rev. Donna Pupillo, Deaconess Nurse Ministry
- Rev. Michael Riggs, Union Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Rev. Aaron Rogers, Trinity Episcopal Church-St. Louis
- Rev. Beverly Stith, The African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Rabbi Scott Shafrin, Kol Rinah
- Dr. Owen Taylor, The Baptist General Convention of MO
- Rev. C. Jessel Strong, The African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Mufti Asif Umar, Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
- Maryl Walters, CSB, The Church of Christ, Scientist
- Ed Zumwinkel III, Webster Groves Presbyterian Church