A large group of Washington, D.C., religious leaders have become the latest to openly campaign against the use of the name “Redskins.”
In a letter signed by leaders of Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, AME, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim faith groups, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owner Dan Snyder have been called upon to change the name.
“As faith leaders in our nation’s capital, we feel we must take a stand on an important moral issue at the forefront of local and national consciousness: the offensive and inappropriate name of Washington’s NFL team,” the letter states. “The derogatory term ‘redskin’ offends many Native Americans and others in this country. This word, defined in the dictionary as a slur, should not be publicly marketed and celebrated in America, which is built on the ideals of respect and inclusion.”
Rev. Graylan Hagler, who recruited 60 religious leaders to join him in signing the letter, told USA Today all of the religious leaders he spoke with agree about the cause, although some declined to sign the letter because their faith groups have no formal position about the “Redskins” name.
“If you use that word about a group of people, you characterize them as less than human,” Hagler said. “You have stripped them of their humanity and taken away the likeness of God that is within all of us.”
Goodell has said the decision on the team’s name is up to Snyder, and Snyder has said he will never change his mind. Those who oppose the name may never stop pressuring Snyder to reconsider.