Bahai News -- Women on the Move host Spiritual Connections Article Last Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2002 - 11:25:46 PM MST

Women on the Move host Spiritual Connections


In keeping with the philosophy of unity of all religions, "Women on the Move,' an outreach program of the Baha'is of Rancho Cucamonga, sponsored an interfaith text reading entitled "Spiritual Connections.'

"It's always nice to be with the members of the Baha'i Faith,' Gladys Johnson, 84, a Baha'i from Pomona said. "Since we have a sense of unity I decided to come.'

The event, which took place Nov. 6 at Rancho Cucamonga's Lion's Center West, featured Firuz Kazemzadeh, a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Tolerance, speaking on that very subject before an audience of about 30.

"In the world in which we live today, tolerance is indispensable,' Kazemzadeh said.

Before Kazemzadeh spoke, several members of the local community gave readings from Baha'i, Islamic, Buddhist, Confucianist and Christian texts.

The readings were from The Book of Matthew, Buddha's Discourse on Goodwill, the Teachings of Islam, the writings of Confucius, and the Words of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith.

"If you have a passage from a lineup like that, and don't know the book, do you hear a difference?' said Barbara Marino, one of the founding members of Women on the Move.

The Bahai's focus much of their attention on the commonalities inherent to all religions. They believe that all religions are destined to reunite, and therefore religious equality is a fundamental tenant of their faith.

After the readings, Kazemzadeh performed a quick rundown on the history of the word tolerance beginning in the year 1531. At that time tolerance meant "sustaining or enduring of evil or suffering.'

Over the centuries, the word evolved to connote more positive implications, Kazemzadeh said.

"Religious intolerance is sold to people as defense of truth,' he said. " `If you don't agree with me, it is because you are malicious.' '

That lack of understanding of "the other' evolved as a natural defensive reaction, but nevertheless must be overcome, Kazemzadeh said.

"Man lives today and has always lived in a dangerous world,' Kazemzadeh said. "Potentially everybody you met for the first time, especially if he had a rock, was potentially somebody who could murder you.'

Women on the Move plans to hold further Spiritual Connections seminars. The next is scheduled for Dec. 4, at the Lion's Center West. The topic will be Integrity.

Andrew Moyle

can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 483-9329.

©Copyright 2002, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Los Angles, CA, USA)

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