Interfaith Amigos preach gospel of inclusion during campus lecture

By Jocelyn Cano

Three religious leaders spoke on campus Oct. 29 on the topic of religious exclusivity. The group gave a presentation in the Lund Auditorium entitled “How Religion Goes Astray”.

The Interfaith Amigos consists of a Christian pastor, an imam from the Islamic faith and a Jewish rabbi. These three friends first began getting together after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when Rabbi Ted Falcon recognized the need to present an alternate perspective of the Muslim faith.

The Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Residence Life collaborated to bring the group to campus. The event was part of their diversity series that introduces students to diverse people and perspectives.

Director of Student Involvement Michael Lango said: “[This event] represents a move and a reflection to the campus community that the Office of Student Involvement does more than just weekend comedians and performers. That we also recognize that student involvement means involving students in looking at themselves and who they are and exploring different ideas while they’re on campus.”

During their lecture, the Interfaith Amigos discussed how similar their faiths and core teachings are. In the Christian faith, the core teaching is unconditional love; the Islamic faith teaches compassion for self and others and the Jewish core teaching involves oneness.

The Interfaith Amigos discuss how all three teachings focus on having compassion for those around you and expressing love for others. This, they said, is where religion often goes astray.

They discussed how religious institutions have strayed away from these core teachings by excluding people of certain beliefs or orientations. These religious institutions, the Interfaith Amigos said, are not teaching oneness, unconditional love or compassion by promoting exclusivity.

Iman Jamal Rahman said, “The world is in the condition it’s in because we’ve gone astray from these core teachings.”

The Interfaith Amigos gave advice on how to begin breaking these barriers of exclusivity. In order to do so, they said, one must make the effort to get to know those who are different from whom they are. This begins with a transformation of the ego and an opening of the heart, they said, which will help us overcome our conditionings.

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