Bahai News - Bahá'í Faith calls on world's religious leaders to put out religious prejudice and fanaticism
Bahá'í Faith's governing council calls on world's religious leaders to put out the fires of religious prejudice and fanaticism
NEW YORK, 15 May 2002 (BWNS) -- Decrying the persistence of religious prejudice as a barrier to global peace
and prosperity, the international governing council of the Bahá'í Faith has addressed a message to the world's
religious leaders. Bahá'í communities around the world are conveying it to religious leaders in all their
countries, thus transmitting its appeal that they act decisively on the need to eradicate religious intolerance
"With every day that passes, danger grows that the rising fires of religious prejudice will ignite a worldwide
conflagration the consequences of which are unthinkable," writes the Universal House of Justice in the message
addressed simply "to the World's Religious Leaders." (Full text available at: http://www.bahai.org/article-1-1-0-1.html)
"Tragically, organized religion, whose very reason for being entails service to the cause of brotherhood and
peace, behaves all too frequently as one of the most formidable obstacles in the path; to cite a particularly
painful fact, it has long lent its credibility to fanaticism," the appeal states. "We feel a responsibility, as
the governing council of one of the world religions, to urge earnest consideration of the challenge this poses
for religious leadership."
The theme of the message of the Universal House of Justice, the internationally elected council that guides the
worldwide, five-million member Bahá'í community, points to the striking developments in the past century
whereby prejudices based on gender, race or nationality, have been recognized as unacceptable by all thinking
people. Although they continue to exist in practice, there is a strong groundswell towards their abolition.
Religious prejudice persists, however, triggering a crisis, the message states, that should compel religious
leaders to make a "break with the past as decisive as those that opened the way for society to address equally
corrosive prejudices of race, gender and nation."
The statement offers the assistance of the Bahá'í community in working for religious unity to which the
interfaith movement has been aspiring and, in closing, asserts: "We owe it to our partners in this common
effort, however, to state clearly our conviction that interfaith discourse, if it is to contribute meaningfully
to healing the ills that afflict a desperate humanity, must now address honestly and without further evasion
the implications of the over-arching truth that called the movement into being: that God is one and that,
beyond all diversity of cultural expression and human interpretation, religion is likewise one."
©Copyright 2002, Baha'i World News Service
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