Religious Tolerance Statements

“Two hundred and twenty three years ago our Founding Fathers established through our Constitution, a high ideal for religious tolerance and understanding. We have found this to be a long arduous journey to go from where we were as a country in the late 1700s to the present day. Progress remains to be accomplished. In the past several decades Americans, of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant faiths have been nominated to be a presidential or vice presidential candidate. . . .

While there is no question that a candidate’s character, moral beliefs, and reputation for integrity should be subject to public review, there is significant danger to the goal of our forefathers; maintaining harmony and understanding among all faiths and rejecting bigoted questions and comments about personal religious beliefs. Article VI of the US Constitution states, “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

We the following, all Catholic citizens of different political persuasions, wish to cite our concern and our determination to assure that not only civility be maintained in the public discourse but that all inclinations to raise the issue of personal religious affiliation be avoided. As Catholics, we have felt the sting of bias in previous national elections. We share the concern of many of our citizens of all religious faiths that allowing the question of a candidate’s religion to be subject to public ridicule is a grave regression from what we have accomplished in our forward movement as Americans since the establishment of our Republic.”– Excerpted from Roman Catholic Leaders Call for Religious Tolerance in Elections, by Michael Sean Winters on Nov. 02, 2011

“The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, cultivated a style of civility as one way religion can demonstrate how our deepest convictions and our public differences can be engaged in a productive fashion. In the first instance, the way different religious traditions and communities engage each other is an opportunity to demonstrate the meaning of the method of civility. But there is also a task beyond interreligious dialogue.

“Today in our nation and around the world religionn is a public reality, a public fact. The ancient question of what religion will bring to the public life of a society is with us with a new intensity. Because of our religious diversity and because news and images from the U. S. flow instantly around the world, our successes in civility can be contagious and our failures can cause great trouble for people around the globe.”–excerpted from “Cardinal Bernardin: A Model for Civility in Public Discourse,” by Archibishop Gregory. (Origins, a journal published by the Catholic News Service, Dec 13, 2012, Vol 42, Number 28)

≡≡≡≡≡

The Guibord Center – Religions Inside Out has as its Mission Statement the following: “To bring people together to challenge assumptions, unleash the Holy, and affirm the faith that transforms the world.”

“Sikhism was founded upon a profound reverence for sanctity of the spiritual nature of every human being and abiding respect for whatever the path that brings any person into their relationship with The Holy. Sikhs are known throughout the world for their remarkably generous hospitality in feeding the hungry. Sikhs are mandated to protect the religious freedom and safety of all people.”–Sikhism 101     The Guibord Center  

“Sikhism believes in one omnipresent, formless God – Akal Purakh, the source of all creation. Union with Akal Purakh is achievable through meditation. Sikhism enjoins people to be productive members of society. Asceticism is not advocated.

Sikhs believe in equality amongst all human beings and pray daily for all humankind – “Sarbat da bhala.” Sikhs regard men and women as equal in all spheres including religion. Sikhs are expected to perform community service, and share with those less fortunate.” — Excerpted from Who Are the Sikhs?

≡≡≡≡≡

 ”As a community, we must commit ourselves and ask others to open their hearts and minds to healthy, respectful dialogue based on our love for our neighbors and our people. We therefore agree to treat others with decency and honor and to set ourselves as models for civil discourse, even when we disagree with each other. We commit ourselves to this course to preserve an essential element of a community–the ability to meet and talk as brothers and sisters.”
– Excerpted from Civility Campaign, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

≡≡≡≡≡

The moral basis of civility is the Golden Rule, taught by a broad range of cultures and individuals, perhaps most popularly by Jesus Christ: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31) This ethic of reciprocity reminds us all of our responsibility toward one another and reinforces the communal nature of human life.

Similarly, the Book of Mormon tells a sober story of civilizational decline in which various peoples repeat the cycle of prosperity, pride and fall. In almost every case, the seeds of decay begin with the violation of the simple rules of civility. Cooperation, humility and empathy gradually give way to contention, strife and malice.

The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies. – Excerpted from The Mormon Ethic of Civility

≡≡≡≡≡

“‘The purpose of religion,’ Baha’u'llah states ‘…is to establish unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world; make it not the cause of dissension and strife.’ In unity–a unity that embraces and honors the full diversity of humankind–all problems can be solved.. When applied on a universal basis, the teaching that we should treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated, an ethic variously repeated in all the great religions, will undoubtedly reveal the salutary power of unity. The building of a global society based on cooperation, reciprocity and genuine concern for others is the ultimate expression of unified action. In short, the core spiritual values held in common by the world’s religions contain within them the principal means for the reconciliation and advancement of the earth’s peoples. . . . In the words of Baha’u'llah, ‘observe tolerance and righteousness, which are two lights amidst the darkness of the world and two educators for the edification of mankind.” – Excerpted from The Baha’i Statement on Education and Freedom of Belief; recent article by Randy Dobbs:
http://www.examiner.com/article/civility-public-discourse-1;
(For video interview with Randy Dobbs, see “The Civility Project,” on this site.)

≡≡≡≡≡

“Tolerance, the capacity to endure unfavorable circumstances, is only a beginning. Christians and all people of good will, must go well beyond this negative concept and develop sympathy for beliefs or practices that not only differ, but even conflict with their own. Dialogue is certainly much better than diatribe. Human beings must learn to agaree or disagree without violence; they must be able to discuss varying viewpoints without hate or rancor. This does not mean docility or abject submission, but partnership and respect for the equal rights of others. Every person has the right and the responsibility to express both ideas and ideals with verve and vigor, but without reaching the boiling point of violent words or actions. Finally, tolerance at its best means not only acceptance of other views and people, but moving in benevolence, responsiveness and understanding toward others–every other human being.” – Excerpted from A Seventh-day Adventist Statement on Tolerance

≡≡≡≡≡

“Communication is one of the most important elements in building a more inclusive community. People of different backgrounds bring with them different communication styles. Sometimes these differences can cause conflicts among members of a community–oftenn in an uncious way. Guidelines for communication are like the traffic rules that one has to understand and observe before getting a license to drive a car. We are required to pass a test proving that we know and will follow the rules in order to lessen the possibility of traffic accidents. With interpersonal communication, we will not require people to ass a test, but we do need to remind people about how to interact respectfully. Conditioned by our society, we often react to others who are different with negative attitudes, put-downs, judgments and dismissal. If we are to express the essence of God’s inclusiveness, we need to agree to behave differently when we are attempting to build a more inclusive community. – Excerpted from the Episcopal Kaleidoscope Institute Newsletter.

≡≡≡≡≡

The Southern California Ecumenical Council (SCEC) is a regional body representing churches, denominations, related ministries and other ecclesiastical communities who cooperate to promote responsible and creative expressions of our Christian unity and witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Through ecumenical networks and inter-religious partnerships SCEC works to foster religious understanding, to advocate for social justice and to advance the well-being of all people. The Week of Prayer Service, the Faith and Order Commission and the Let Justice Roll task group are part of the current work of the Council.

In the wake of the tragic shootings at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the Southern California Ecumenical Council is calling for prayers for the Sikh Community in Christian congregations throughout the region.

Our hope is that this will provide an opportunity for Christians to pray for the victims, their families, and for the Sikh community which has experienced much tragedy and hardship in this country since the September 11 attacks. We also hope that there will be occasions for Christians to learn more about the Sikh religion (www.sikhs.org) There are more than 500,000 Sikhs nationwide, and there are twelve Sikh temples (gurdwaras) in the greater Los Angeles region (see “SIKH temples Los Angeles” on the INTERNET).

In the coming days and weeks there will be opportunity for Christians to stand in solidarity with the Sikh community.

≡≡≡≡≡

The term “Hare Krishna”, or The Hare Krishna Movement™ Organization, formally The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is the orthodox core of Hinduism. It was registered in the West (in New York) in July 1966, but dates back over 5000 years.

One of its basic beliefs and goals is to systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world. http://www.krishna.com/losangeles; Govinda Restaurant http://harekrishnala.com/govindasla/#.UGR2c5IWX2c

≡≡≡≡≡

www.irc-socal.org