Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
March 21, 2021
LET IT BEGIN WITH ME
Continuing to Celebrate the International Day of Peace
The violent attacks against Asian American are more than tragic. We are witnessing a surge in violence against what powerful and privileged people think are “minority” people. There is the fear of America becoming Brown, Black, and “other.” Some think America is the Kingdom of God for certain “white” people who are, by nature, superior to all other people. This sense of privilege not only compromises the rights of people but threatens their well-being and lives.
The is not a new problem in America. It goes back to our roots and is deeply embedded in our culture and Institutions. The rhetoric of the past few years against all so-called minority groups finds its legitimacy in our expressed history, our traditional institutions, and even in our religious beliefs and practices. We need only think of how religion was used to justify slavery, exterminate the indigenous, and oppress anyone who dared to love differently from the “norms” permitted.
The current level of violence in America is a wake-up call rallying us to pay attention and take action.
We can no longer afford to separate authentic spirituality from cultural, civil, and political pursuits. We can no longer support the idea of religion as personal and private. The fact is there are people today who use religion to pursue their unjust policies (think of voter suppression laws) and murderous ways (think of the resistance to pandemic protocols and vaccinations). They believe they are upholding traditional values and God’s will when they demonize members of Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples.
Some have even suggested the murders in Atlanta were committed against prostitutes as if to imply some justification for such atrocities. Violence in the name of God must end. We must calm our hearts realizing how often we engage in violent thoughts and desires. We must “enter into our rage” with courage seeking insights. We must invite the fullness of our humanity to flourish if we would cherish the lives of those we meet on the journey of life. If God privileged us with anything, God blessed us with the desire to love and respect one another. Think of the powerful words of Imam Ali, “People are of two types: they are either your brothers and sisters in faith or your equals in humanity.”
There is no superiority of one person over another. If we would work for peace based on justice, we seek to come to the aid of the oppressed as we work to set the oppressor free from their desire to hurt another. Our religious and political ideologies can blind us to the dignity of other human persons. When we compromise our ability to see others as fully human, we compromise our dignity, blinding ourselves to the truth in our hearts.
Peacemakers confront injustice with an uncompromising desire to set everyone free from the desire to harm anyone else. The quest for justice is born from the inner peace of mind, heart, and soul, which empowers us to be courageous, self-giving, and compassionate.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.