Interfaith Leaders Condemn Brooke Ashjian Comments, Call for Ashjian to Resign

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More people continue to demand Fresno Unified School board president Brooke Ashjian step down. On Monday, the demands came from several interfaith leaders. They gathered in front of the district office in Downtown Fresno to condemn recent comments Ashjian made about the LGBT community.

At last week’s school board meeting, Ashjian made a comment comparing the Ottoman Empire- who led the Armenian genocide- to leaders of the LGBT movement. Church leaders said the only way to make this situation right is for Ashjian to step down.

Bill Knezovich is the pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. He said, “I was stunned, shocked, horrified by the words of the president, the school board president.”

Knezovich is referring to this comment Ashjian made last Wednesday during the five-hour long board meeting. Ashjian said, “Much like the Ottoman’s, who silenced, belittled, or even worse, any Armenian who dared to question, or stand up to the politically correct voices of the day. I say today, on behalf of our American-Armenian community, no. Not again. Not on my watch.”

Reverand Chris Breedlove is the pastor of Community United Church of Christ. He said Ashjian’s comments are reprehensible. Breedlove and Knezovich want to put the matter on the board’s agenda for the next meeting. They hope the board publicly censures Ashjian or votes him off as president.

Breedlove said, “We believe in redemption, we believe in forgiveness, we believe in grace. But, we also believe in repentance, and we also believe in responsibility.”

Ashjian has simply replied “no” when others have urged him to resign. On Monday, the board president released a statement in response to the interfaith leaders: “As a school board member I am busy providing safe schools and educational opportunities for all kids”.

Breedlove said they will do all they can to see their mission through.

“We won’t go away. We’re here to stay because we love our LGBT community and we support them,” stated Breedlove.

The interfaith leaders said if the school board does not act on the matter, they will take it as the board condoning Ashjian’s comments.

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