By Elizabeth Miller| Tampa Bay Times | October 7, 2012 | [Original Article]
They were Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Methodist and more.
They were men and women coming together for one cause.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Family Justice Center of Hillsborough County gathered faith leaders this week to sign a proclamation and learn more about the role they can play in preventing domestic abuse.
"The intent is to recognize that domestic violence crosses all lines, including faith, economic, cultural … and to get faith leaders to take a stand on that," said Nikki Daniels, executive director of the Family Justice Center.
Michael Neely, pastor of New Millennium Community Church in Tampa, works with domestic violence victims through the interfaith chaplaincy program at the Family Justice Center, a one-stop service center for victims and their families.
"The majority (of victims) had the same struggle: 'Is God going to be angry with me if I leave?' " he said to more than 30 representatives of churches and organizations, including the Spring, LifePath Hospice and the Salvation Army.
Ministers, clergy and pastors took turns reading the proclamation that pledged "spiritual and religious leaders of Tampa Bay, proclaim with one voice, that domestic violence exists in our own Tampa Bay communities and is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable."
The proclamation was signed by representatives from 16 religious and community organizations, including Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Congregation Schaarai Zedek, Unity North Tampa, CAIR Florida (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Peace Progressive Primitive Baptist Church, Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa and First United Church of Tampa.