Two area Bahá’ís, Regina Colston of Huntsville and Brenda Tackett of Madison, were among nearly 10,000 who recently attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The three critical issues of this year’s parliament, October 16-19, were: Climate Change and Care for Creation; War, Violence and Hate Speech; and the Widening Wealth Gap and Wasteful Consumption.
The major thrust of the conference and its more than 600 presentations offered by Parliament members of all the major religions was on unity and cooperation.
“I remember a profound lecture of Dr. Peter Khan who spoke of the power of the human spiritual dynamic and why we are attracted to holy places, holy gatherings and holy energy,” said Ms. Colston. “We came together to protect the Earth and preserve the soul of humankind. I was glad to be among Bahá’ís at that important spiritual event with Brenda to share a desire of all religions there to advance the Cause of God on Earth through action.”
Attendees were urged to be kind and reverent to Mother Earth, to care for the earth as one would for their own mother. Presenters called for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels to help reduce global warming, stressing that the “Law of Abundance” still applies: there is enough of everything if we just eliminate the extremes in wealth and poverty.
“I was honored to be in the presence of so many diverse and educated people from all over the world who are taking responsibility to help solve our present global problems,” Ms. Tackett added. “We are the ‘stewards’ of this beautiful planet, and it is through each and everyone’s individual actions now that will play a significant role in healing our world and making it a better world for future generations to come”.
One workshop promoted World Peace and the establishment of a World Federation, using the analogy of the world as being like a young United States – each country as being one of the 13 original colonies, each a separate government unit but under one “umbrella”., a member of the National Spiritual of the Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, gave a workshop on racial unity, saying, “We can’t afford to get depressed! We must not give up!”
“Our problem is an international one!” Henderson said. “We are all interdependent, so we need further integration and unity.”
The conference celebrated its unity in diversity with many cultural and musical performances from groups across the planet.
The next Parliament of The World’s Religions will be held in two years, with the location to be announced at www.parliamentofreligions.org/
The first mention of the Baha’i Faith in North America was made at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893. The first Parliament is recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide. One hundred years later, in 1993, another Parliament was held in Chicago and since then it has been held approximately every five years in cities across the globe, including Cape Town, South Africa, Barcelona, Spain, and Sydney, Australia.