Category Archives: Religious Diversity

Religious diversity in the workplace and interfaith projects in the community.

Bermuda Jews Part 3: The Jewish Question — by Deborah Levine

(The Bermuda Jews History Series was originally published in The Bermudian Magazine)

I sat in a restaurant overlooking Hamilton harbor pondering my morning researching Bermuda Jews in the island’s Archives. I’d spent many hours reviewing Bermuda’s Jewish tourism prior to World War II. Yes, my family had mentioned ‘restricted’ places where no Jews were allowed. But mostly I remembered their stories of Bermuda’s war-time kindness to Jews. Dr. Hollis Hallett, the Archives founder, directed me to documents from the 1930s showing the impact of an increasingly global anti-Semitism on Bermuda tourism. What should I write about this ugly period?

Continue reading Bermuda Jews Part 3: The Jewish Question — by Deborah Levine

A Baptism Guest — by Spencer McCall

The good people of the First Waughtown Baptist Church were consumed by utter jubilation – it was Baptism Sunday. Wearing the best of their Sunday best they sang hymns as they proceeded to the banks of the Belview Creek not far from the Church and just beyond the old Belview School. The candidate for baptism was none other than my mother’s distant relation Brother Hines. Bro Hines hailed from a strong old Baptist family and his people were numbered amongst the founders of First Waughtown and it’s mother church First Baptist Winston and his father was a Baptist pastor of the family church in Davidson County.

Continue reading A Baptism Guest — by Spencer McCall

Lessons of a Joint Arab-Jewish Kindergarten — by Amir Shlomian of Maayan Babustan/Ein Bustan

For those of you who have not yet heard the story of the Maayan Babustan/Ein Bustan kindergarten, this is a Waldorf school, a kindergarten that is run in two languages – Arabic and Hebrew. The kindergarten is situated in the Arab village of Hilf, within the municipality of Bosmat Tab’un, 7 minutes drive from the nearby Jewish town of Kiryat Tivon. The kindergarten is attended by 27 Arab and Jewish children, in two age groups. The staff is also comprised of Arabs and Jews: in each class there is a Hebrew speaking teacher and an Arabic speaking teacher. In addition, we are pleased to have two interns, two young Bedouin Arab women who are fulfilling their “Year of Service” by working as assistants in the kindergarten, one in each age group.

Continue reading Lessons of a Joint Arab-Jewish Kindergarten — by Amir Shlomian of Maayan Babustan/Ein Bustan

Catholic Views of Jews and Muslims — by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

The 1974 Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish Relations is primarily known for its emphasis on the need for Catholics to come to understand Jews as they define themselves or, in other words, to refrain from creating what I would call “straw Jews.” The 1985 document focused its attention on the correct presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic religious education and preaching. The 1998 document on the Holocaust emphasized the importance of Holocaust education and tried to come to grips with Catholic responsibility during the Shoah. On the latter point some, including myself, have judged it incomplete even though it moved in the right direction on the question of Catholic collaboration with the Nazi effort at Jewish annihilation. Beyond the actual points made in these Vatican statements they helped immeasurably in creating a positive ethos for constructive scholarly work on the question on the part of theologians biblical exegetes.

Continue reading Catholic Views of Jews and Muslims — by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

Interfaith Dialog Adventist Style — by Dr. Lisa Diller

“A Third Way” conference, small but fervent in participation, was recently held in Chattanooga, TN. The main point and goal of the conference was this: How do we have a strong Christian identity that is also benevolent to others? So many times “tolerance” goes along with a weak identity, weak loyalty to a tradition. On the other hand, people who are really strong in their beliefs can sometimes behave in hostile ways (or perceived hostile ways) to outsiders. The idea for the conference was that there was a “third way”—a way to have a strong identity that is generous and benevolent to outsiders.

Continue reading Interfaith Dialog Adventist Style — by Dr. Lisa Diller

Baha’i View of Racial Prejudice – by Yvor Stoakley

BAHA’I VIEW 1938

On Christmas Day 1938 the head of the Bahá’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, wrote a very important letter to the Bahá’i communities residing in the United States and Canada. (The letter was later published as a book under the title The Advent of Divine Justice.) It was the eve of World War II. The Empire of Japan had already invaded China in July 1937. In March of 1938 Nazi Germany had absorbed Austria into the Third Reich. In September 1938 the Germans forced Czechoslovakia to cede part of its territory to Germany. On November 9, 1938 many German Nazis attacked and destroyed Jewish businesses and synagogues in the pogrom later known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). Against this background of world events, Shoghi Effendi wrote this letter.

Continue reading Baha’i View of Racial Prejudice – by Yvor Stoakley

Does Religious Diversity Have a Future? – by Deborah Levine & Terry Howard

Despite an increase in lawsuits related to religious expression and workplace discrimination, religious diversity is an area of Diversity & Inclusion often missing from leadership development.  The silence is due to lack of exposure and to fear, perhaps well-founded, that religious diversity training may actually increase animosity in the workplace, rather than build bridges. Given the recent Supreme Court ruling sanctioning public prayer as an American tradition, a tradition that has often been Christian, the role of diverse religions in the US is increasingly murky and contentious.

Continue reading Does Religious Diversity Have a Future? – by Deborah Levine & Terry Howard

About God Bless America — by Terry Howard

This headline makes for eye-catching copy, does it not? Now, if I said that these are the actual words that accompany the email signature of a person in the U.S. who communicates, often globally, to members of his organization, would you believe me? Well, that’s the truth. I kid you not.

Continue reading About God Bless America — by Terry Howard

Cultural Encounters of a Growing Kind — Christopher Bear Beam

One of the richest adventures I’ve had in my adult life was the cultural encounters working as a resident chaplain in an urban setting.  I worked for two years for a major hospital system in Houston, Texas.  This hospital system had a mission statement of serving its diverse community and offering appropriate pastoral care.  What I came to understand from this work experience was the incredible ethnic diversity as well as the religious diversity represented by patients in the hospital.  I learned this as I made my rounds through the ER, ICU, Ambulatory Care, and other surgical units.

Continue reading Cultural Encounters of a Growing Kind — Christopher Bear Beam

Be Grateful for Religious Diversity — by Michelle Findlay

The night atmosphere is alive with colour and sound. Vibrant costumes adorn humble people as they dance to ward of evil spirits. Bright fires cast a warm glow; the balmy warmth of incense caresses the air. Our spirits soar. This is a traditional Buddhist festival in Nepal. Contrast this with another scenario I experienced:  Before we alight the bus in Beijing we are told not to ask questions. We are told not to mention anything political. We giggle and laugh, every one of us thinks it’s a joke. But our guide tells us again firmly, he is 100% serious. We could get arrested and thrown in prison and that is no laughing matter.

Continue reading Be Grateful for Religious Diversity — by Michelle Findlay