POLITICS AND RELIGION ON THE SUBCONTINENT
Don't imagine that the United States is the only country struggling with a shifting boundary between religion and politics. The same struggle is going on in India, as this report notes. I tend to keep track of such things in India more than in other countries because I spent two years of my boyhood there. It was a time that showed me that people of many different faiths could live together in relative harmony.
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TOWARD A MORE PEACEFUL WORLD
If you've never heard of a group called Religions for Peace -- USA, have a careful look at the Web site today.
RFP-USA will be sponsoring one of its interfaith academies for emerging religious leaders in Kansas City from June 13 to 27. The deadline for submitting an application to participate (it's open just to leaders of faith communities) officially was April 20, but officials tell me there still are a few slots open and applications will be accepted until early May. To download an application, click here. But even if you aren't going to attend this academy, it's still the sort of program I think the world needs more of and that is worth knowing about.
As you can see by reading about the history of this organization, it grew out of an international body more than 30 years ago, and today is quite active in many ways. RFP-USA's list of member religious bodies does not include everybody and his grandmother (my Presbyterian denomination is not listed, for instance), but it's quite broad.
Sometimes I feel like a broken record talking about the importance of such interfaith groups, but in a world often set aflame by religiously motivated violence, I think it's crucial that we all understand each other better. As I've said before, the goal is to respect one another at least enough not to kill one another. That seems like a simple goal, but we're not even that far yet.
So have a look at RFP-USA today and be aware that it's one more effort to bring some sane discussion to matters of religion.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.