Pastor Travis Smith paced First Baptist Church’s sanctuary, decorated for the holidays. He addressed his congregation in Stover, Missouri, about forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” he read from the Gospel of Matthew.
Against a background of mounting anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence,
Baptist and other religious leaders spoke out Aug. 30 against
Islamophobia and urged federal officials to take a more proactive role
in safeguarding Muslims’ civil rights.