Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Interfaith action

I have been fortunate to participate in two interfaith events recently in Raleigh, N.C. The first was a wonderful "Tents of Hope" event held at Meredith College and the second was a meaningful "Peace Vigil" held at NC State University. The "Tents" event brought together a local muslim school, jewish senagogue and area christians to paint three tents, which will be sent to join hundreds of others in a major awareness campaign in Washington, D.C. The vigil included members of the Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist and Muslim student groups singing and reading well-written prayers. It also included a poignant candlelight circle. Both events were well organized and I deeply appreciate everyone who participated.

There are two main reasons I enjoy interfaith events:

1. I lived an interfaith life. Although I am, and my family is, evangelical christian, growing up in Chad we lived in a predominantly muslim area that had pockets of tribal religions dotting the landscape like swiss cheese. Every day I would come into contact with someone of a different faith, as I played with muslims, sang with christians and went mango-hunting with animists. This world taught me the value of respecting others and broadened my worldview. Unfortunately, interfaith mingling is not very common in the U.S., as we tend to surround ourselves with those like us and shun those who aren't. I miss living in that interfaith community where we could disagree, but still enjoy life together.

2. The violence in Darfur is not based on religion. Although most of the tribes involved in the current crisis are muslim, the fighting is not based in religious bigotry. The catastrophe in Darfur is fueled by decades of oppression, poverty, lack of natural resources and just plain evil. Men, women and children of all religions are suffering and enduring this evil. Any person of faith should be rocked to their core at the destruction in Darfur and be urged to action by their beliefs. We are stronger together when fighting evil and are ineffective if we get sidetracked by inter-faith bickering.

For more ways you can help out and raise awareness and action for Darfur, check out my 20 WAYS I CAN HELP link on the right.

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