We are group of people who are planning to do Demonstration and Parade for the preservation of ancient cultures of the world during the Pope visit to US in April 2008. The details are given in write up given below. We sincerely hope that you would be able to attend this program and encourage others as well.
Please spread the word and join in our efforts to bring worldwide attention to the need for preserving cultures of the world.
Below is the letter explaining all the details.
Demonstration and Parade for Preservation of Religions of the World during Papal Visit to UN on Apr 18th at United Nations (and Yankee Stadium, New York on Apr 20).
Religion is the one of the most potent forces shaping world affairs. This has always been the case, but it is particularly true right now. Much of the charity as well as the strife in the world today is inspired by religion.
When religion can be such a force for love, compassion and spirituality, why is it also such a cause of strife and war? One specific aspect of some religions is the root cause of the problems: exclusive truth claims which teach that other religions are false and have to be eradicated through conversion and even killings.
Rabbi Harold Kushner summarized the „Only my religion is right“ phenomenon as:
„There’s a sense that in order for me to be right, everyone who disagrees with me is wrong. It makes religious interfaith cooperation more difficult. If I believe that, I have to believe that other people’s religions are worthless, invalid.“
„You have to understand that religion is not about getting information about God. Religion is about community. The primary purpose is not to get us to heaven but to put us in touch with other people. I can have fierce loyalty to my family without denigrating other people’s family. I can have fierce loyalty to my own religion without denigrating other people’s religion. In the same way, my neighbor can say that his wife is the most wonderful woman in the world. I can take that as a statement of love, not fact.“
Diversity is the rule of the creation. Only in diversity can the human mind survive. Such diverse religions as the Zoroastrians, the Baha’i, Gnostics and Wiccans; the indigenous religions of Africa, Americas and Australia; Buddhism and Jainism and the ancient and subtle I-Kuan Tao, all are faces of a grand prism expressing their understanding of creator and his creation that unites every human being, nay every creature and the creation itself.
But a great amount of this diversity was destroyed and continued to be destroyed by religions professing exclusive access to the mind of God and labeling all other spiritual traditions as evil. Though there are agreements and disagreements among religious philosophies, a very few religious groups express their intolerance to the extent of destroying other religions in order to establish their exclusivist truth claims beliefs. The degree of violence and hate perpetrated by such religions during last two centuries has been colossal in the history of mankind. Mahatma Gandhi called the religious conversions conducted by missionaries who convert and spread hate as the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.
During World Congress for Preservation of Religious Diversity in 2001, Swami Dayananda Saraswati said that the ancient religions of the world have become like endangered species. However, he said, unlike the endangered species, we can confer and therefore come together to find out ways and means to see that diverse religious traditions are saved. Conferences held by organizations such as ICCSUS are helping to bring together traditions across the world. The Papal visit to United Nations provides the cultures of the world a great opportunity to bring international attention to the threat of religious exclusivism and its consequences for the world religions and humanity.
What is being planned? The plan is to do a Demonstration and a parade during Pope’s visit to UN on April 18th honoring native cultures of the world and highlighting each culture that was destroyed and the atrocities committed. We also plan to meet United Nations Secretary General to present our case. The message is not against Christianity, but against the practice of intolerance under the mask of exclusive faith claim which happens to be the root cause. We plan to highlight the works of eminent thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi who stood against religions conversions and intolerance. Mahatma Gandhi is greatly revered in the West as the one who stood for brotherhood among all religions. (Note: Similar demonstration and parade will also be held in front of Yankee Stadium, New York on April 20th).
Why is this important? History showed to us that change never happens by itself. It requires a collective and determined action to bring about that change. Today, most conversions activities are planned, executed and supported by funds from the West, particularly the United States. Many times they are contributed by unwitting church goers who have little idea as to what their contributions are causing. The Roman Catholic Church along with various Protestant and charismatic groups are the prime movers of the global conversion enterprise. Media management by the Church promotes the image that missionary activity simply is spreading a gospel of love and compassion to the unfortunate peoples of the world. There is no public voice for the victim’s story.
Why now? The pope’s visit to UN attracts worldwide attention, and we plan to use this occasion to present the victim’s side of the effects of missionary activity.Through this demonstration and parade, we plan to bring international attention to the relentless onslaught of religious conversion activity, what it has done and continues to do to the cultures of the world. Our goal is to create a counter discussion to the whole missionary activity, to raise awareness that this activity has a dark side.
Who is organizing this activity? This activity is being organized by concerned individuals belonging to various religions. Some of the people involved have experience in organizing successful protests which attracted world wide media attention. Their activities have brought public policy changes while bringing a lot of awareness in the community. Their activities can be viewed from websites such as http://savetemples.org, http://gandhiheritage.org.
Please Join Us. We earnestly request the various cultures of the world to take part in the event and avail this rare and unique opportunity to present their case. We request representatives of all the great cultures of the world not to miss this unique opportunity by attending this event.
For more information
Phone: 732-252-6792, 732-777-1107, 646-765-7026
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com