As many of you who read this newsletter regularly, know, the Charter for Compassion was involved last week in The Parliament of the World's Religions when it returned to Chicago, IL one hundred and thirty years after the first Parliament was held there. This is the speech I intended to give at our Compassion Banquet, and did, but mostly as talking points. I'd like to share it with you here today.
Do not be daunted
by the enormity
of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated
to complete the work,
but neither are you free
to abandon it.
In direct language: What is going on in our world? It looks as if the clock has turned back to pre-WWI nationalistic trends and the impending horrific rise of fascism and Nazism of WWII. It is apparent that rights are being threatened globally, civility in government is being lost, people are at each other’s throats, climate issues are rampant, and youth, like their elders, don’t know what to do. The stage is set; it’s time to unravel the story.
What will it take? Obviously, compassion is a major part of the solution.
Today, we stand at a crossroads of history, facing a challenge that demands our collective courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment. The specter of global fascism looms, threatening the very values we hold dear—equality, justice, and human dignity. But let me be clear: We are not powerless against this tide. Together, as individuals as well as faith-based organizations, we possess the strength to dismantle the foundations of any "ism" and build a world rooted in compassion, unity, and freedom.
In the face of such a daunting adversary, we might ask ourselves: "What can we truly do?" The answer is everything. Our strength lies not just in numbers, but in our shared determination to stand against oppression, intolerance, and hatred in all its forms. It's time for us to rise with a collective voice that resounds through the corridors of history.
The power of faith-based organizations is unparalleled. For centuries, these institutions have been sanctuaries of hope, resilience, and compassion. Now, we must harness that power to confront the rising tides that separate us. We can draw inspiration from history—when churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples stood as bastions of resistance against tyranny. Let us learn from those who refused to be silenced, who sheltered the persecuted, and who fought for justice with unwavering faith.
But it's not just the responsibility of faith-based organizations; it's a call to action for each and every individual. The strength of our collective resistance lies in our diversity. Let us recognize that hate feeds on division, and by embracing each other's differences, we dismantle its very foundations. By uniting across races, religions, and nationalities, we forge a bond that is hard to break.
We must challenge fascism wherever it takes root—in our communities, our workplaces, and our governments. Let us be bold in our convictions, unafraid to speak out against bigotry, and unyielding in our demand for justice. As individuals, we can use our voices, our actions, and our votes to create a world that values human rights and rejects the darkness of injustice.
History teaches us that change is possible. It teaches us that the indomitable human spirit can overcome even the most formidable challenges. And so, we stand at a pivotal moment. We stand as torchbearers of hope, of resilience, of a world where empathy triumphs over indifference.
As we move forward, let us remember that the opposition we face is not a fleeting struggle; it's an enduring commitment. Let our resolve be unshakable, our actions bold, and our hearts filled with the knowledge that we are the architects of change.
Together, individuals and faith-based organizations can build bridges where there were walls, sow seeds of acceptance where there was hatred, and light candles of hope where darkness sought to reign.
Let us rise above fear, for we are stronger than it. Let us rise above division, for our unity is our greatest weapon. Let us rise above any “ism,” for our compassion and resilience will shine through.
The challenge is before us; the opportunity to reshape our world is within our grasp. Let us seize it together, as beacons of light, as defenders of freedom, and as champions of compassion.
With warmest regards,