Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hate Surfaces In Brooklyn

I read a statement recently is Brooklyn's diocesan newspaper, The Tablet, which struck me and seemed so true. It was from an article titled, "Assisi is Site of Peace Pilgrimage," by Cindy Wooden. The article was about Pope Benedict's recent trip to Assisi with 300 religious leaders, for a pilgrimage of peace. (Just as an aside, Assisi, Italy is my favorite place on the planet!) The meeting marked the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi interfaith gathering for peace and non-violence which took place in 1986.
During the recent pilgrimage, the Pope condemned violence as Pope John Paul II did in 1986. Yet unfortunately at this time in history, human beings still act violently. Such a waste! Anyhow, the line from the article that struck me and made me think a lot was the following spoken by a Hindu representative from India, he said, "The leaders needed to ask themselves why interreligious dialogue has not had a greater impact on the world situation in the last 25 years. Are we missing the inward part of the journey?"
I wonder, are religious leaders from all the major world religions doing enough to promote religious tolerance and understanding. It should be a priority and money should flow into the cause. It's so important for the future of humankind.
In any event, when I picked up the newspaper on Saturday (the New York Daily News), it was chilling to see the word HATE in large block letters covering the front page. Beneath the word was a photograph of three torched cars, an unusual sight in Brooklyn, caused by such blatant anti-Semitism. Nearby was property that has been defaced. Probably it was caused by beer drinking, intolerant young people. That's what the police think and that makes sense. Sensible, law-abiding individuals do not act that way in New York City. NYC is a tolerant place which is why so many young people opt to live here. People from everywhere in the world live here peaceably ( for the most part).
There was a march on Sunday in the same neighborhood, on Ocean Parkway, where the violence took place, a march for peace, a march against intolerance and hatred.
When will humankind catch on? How many thousands of years have to pass before peace reigns on this Earth? When will the message of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus take root, so that we can use resources to help the marginalized and poor of the world, instead of using violence and hatred to cause havoc and waste resources?

People of different faiths must work together to build on something they all share: 'a hope for the creation of human harmony, justice, prosperity and an improved standard of human life.' (Hasyim Muzadi, general secretary of International Conference of Islamic Scholars)