On September 22nd, as part of a celebration of International Peace Day, marches were held around the world to celebrate Religious Peace and Justice.
In a world so full of noise, concern and neglect, these marches were a testament to the fact that we can still come together and believe in one another.
In Los Angeles, we participated in one of over 20 marches being held all around the world in California, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming. Marches were also held in India, Israel and Palestine, Malawi, Pakistan and Uganda.
Some of the speeches I felt were, “preaching to the choir,” with those in attendance already aware of the need to learn about each other. However, there were enough news sources there to make it worth the effort and the attendees added weight to the words.
During the march itself, we got some honks of agreement, but what surprised me the most were catcalls from an anonymous darkened window in an apartment building we passed. Someone called out that we were all idiots, as we marched along with signs promoting peace.
I was raised that if I thought a deeply felt belief was strange, I probably didn’t understand it and needed to learn more about it. It didn’t mean that I would agree with it, but I would come to understand it and more often than not, I would find a piece of truth that did hold true for me as well.
Listening to the catcalls made me think of that lesson, learned as a kid and now just part of who I am. Is it possible to teach those who did not get that lesson in their youth? If “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” does that leave this to the youth only, or can we all learn, can we all come to find the truths within each other’s faiths?
When members of different religions were asked what they hoped others learn about their faith, some interesting answers included:
Baha’i: The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
Islam: On the day we can fully trust each other there will be peace on Earth.
Zoroastrian: Life is sacred, life is precious.
Christian/Protestant: Love is a verb not a noun! Love your neighbor as yourself (we forget that second part).
Wiccan: Behold all acts are love and pleasure are my rituals. Really comes back down to love which is the top part of the pentacle.
Catholic: From the Bible: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Sikh: Understanding and respect.
Falun Gong: Compassion, because if everyone of us has compassion in one’s heart and treat each other with kindness, what a world we would have!
Yoga: Communion, key to everything and oneself and stillness of your being and see your communion with all light and all part of the mighty source and respect and honor that oneness will bring peace on earth.
Unification: Living for the sake of others.
When these are the purposes of faith, I find it easy to agree.