The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If you meet those of different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different coloured roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them.
January 15th, 2007 is Martin Luther King Day, an American national holiday that celebrates the birthday—and the life and times—of Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian minister who championed the Civil Rights movement in America in the 1960s. You may be familiar with his “I Have a Dream” speech, given at the March on Washington in 1963, when he expressed the hope that the black and white races would one day live in perfect equality, harmony and unity. This sentiment is echoed in Bahá’u’lláh’s command unto humanity: “Close your eyes to racial differences, and welcome all with the light of oneness.”
Read more about the Baha’i perspective on Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.
Since Martin Luther King Day is celebrated as a Day of Service, we may also want to consider today ways in which we can serve humanity. Visit the US Government’s official MLK Day website for service ideas, or consider your own ways you can volunteer or be of service. (Hint: to go along with the picture above, you may want to help out at your friendly neighbourhood children’s class!)
While waiting for the bus on my way to work last Tuesday, a headline in one of the local free news dailies (that is, reuters/cp/torstar repeaters) caught my eye. “All they need is love”. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be the following Canadian Press story about the rise of interreligious marriages. Hmm. That’s a pretty cheesy title. Maybe “Interreligious marriages on the rise” was too bland. Anyway, the story’s based on a study published by Statistics Canada. Check it out.
Interreligious marriages on the rise: study
By LORRAYNE ANTHONY
TORONTO (CP) – Tina Verma wore a traditional red sari when her bridegroom placed a wedding band on her henna tattooed hand. It was the picture perfect Hindu wedding for a girl born in New Delhi – unless the guests took into account the man beside her.
The groom, a Canadian Christian, wore a black western suit. A few minutes after the Hindu ceremony, the two were married by a United Church minister. Then they walked down the aisle as guests threw flower petals on the newly married couple for good luck – a Hindu tradition.
As Canada becomes more culturally diverse, nuptials involving individuals from different denominations and faiths are also becoming more common, a new study finds.
While only 15 per cent of married or common-law couples were interreligious in 1981, by 2001 such unions had grown to 19 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.
Of the 14.1 million Canadians in couples, nearly 2.7 million had a partner from a different religious group, the study based on census data finds.
Bonus Question: Would you marry someone who practices a religion other than your own? Why or why not?
Oh, you of the Western nations, be kind to those who come from the Eastern world to sojourn among you. Forget your conventionality when you speak with them; they are not accustomed to it. To Eastern peoples this demeanour seems cold, unfriendly. Rather let your manner be sympathetic. Let it be seen that you are filled with universal love. When you meet a Persian or any other stranger, speak to him as to a friend; if he seems to be lonely try to help him, give him of your willing service; if he be sad console him, if poor succour him, if oppressed rescue him, if in misery comfort him. In so doing you will manifest that not in words only, but in deed and in truth, you think of all men as your brothers.
The Montreal Gazette just ran a story about the Multicultural Society at Laurier Macdonald High School, quoting a Montreal Baha’i youth, Mona Ghadirian, in the process:
Mona Ghadirian, a past president of the Multicultural Society, was on hand to talk about the Baha’i faith.
“We’re here to make sure that individuals, although they are very diverse, can come together and be united in one common goal,” said the 18-year-old Marianopolis College student. “And that goal is the unity and diversity of humankind, and the main goal of world peace.”
Ghadirian’s involvement with the club taught her a lot, including how to overcome a fear of public speaking.
“At the beginning, when there was a mic in front of me, I kind of froze,” she said. “But I learned to be confident in what I know and how to express it. And now I feel like I’ve grown a lot in those two years.”
The quote is at the bottom of the first page, regarding her participation at the school’s recent commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. Mona is cool. Read the story!