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Calling faith-based actions to help change the world

September 3, 2023
Originally published by A Lotus in the Mud on September 3 by PARVEEN CHOPRA
At a time when specters loom large of religious extremism, state-sanctioned in some cases, the tableau of prominent faith leaders holding hands at the Chicago PoWR challenged that sad reality.

The message of Parliament of World Religions (PoWR) in Chicago last month resonated with clarity and conviction: We must join hands, unite, and safeguard the religious rights of all faiths. PoWR has traversed a remarkable journey since 1893 when the first Parliament brought together 400 religious leaders representing 40 diverse traditions. It was during this momentous gathering that Catholicism and Judaism gained recognition as significant American religions in addition to the predominant Protestant Christianity and the luminous traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were unveiled to the Western world.

In the contemporary landscape, where the specters loom large of religious fanaticism, state-sanctioned in some cases, the tableau on massive dais in PoWR’s opening session challenged that sad reality. The holding of hands by prominent religious and spiritual leaders from countries including USA, Mexico, China, and India extended a warm invitation to stakeholders of all faiths, beckoning them to a realm of peace, harmony, and genuine discourse on pressing matters facing the world. Attended by over 6,500 people, the atmosphere in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center was electric. City Mayor Brandon Johnson astutely proclaimed, “In this moment, seeking refuge solely within scriptures and holy texts falls short; it is essential to exhibit the most magnificent creation and power of humanity – the act of love.”

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