(RNS) Nearly 40 members of the U.S. House, among them Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday (July 17) urging him to convene a “Religious Diversity Summit” and do more to fight discrimination against religious minorities.

Attendees light candles during the prayer vigil for the victims of the Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting on Wednesday evening, August 8, in Lafayette Park in view of the White House.

Attendees light candles during the prayer vigil for the victims of the Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting on Wednesday evening, August 8, in Lafayette Park in view of the White House.

“The targeting of religious minorities in America is reaching a crisis point and we believe your leadership is crucial to stemming this rising tide of violence,” the letter writers said.

The letter comes just ahead of the first anniversary of the Aug. 5 attack by a white supremacist on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., that killed six worshippers. Muslim advocacy groups say there has been an increase in attacks against mosques and Muslims since the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.

A religious diversity summit would bring together religious leaders, politicians, academics and other leaders. Among other goals, it would develop “best practices” or “guidelines” that local communities could follow when dealing with religious divisions or other religious issues.

All 37 signatories were Democrats, including Buddhist Hank Johnson of Georgia, Hindu Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Muslims Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana, and Jews Jared Polis of Colorado, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Henry Waxman and Alan Lowenthal, both of California.

RNS photo courtesy Tulsi Gabbard's campaign

Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Photo courtesy Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign

“The terrible and very public episodes of violence this country has seen over the past several years deserve a response, and as elected leaders we have an obligation to be a part of that response,” wrote Arizona Democrat Raul M. Grijalva, one of several Christians to sign the letter.

Heads of several religious organizations also supported the call for a summit. They include the Anti-Defamation League, Muslim Advocates, the Sikh Coalition, and the Hindu American Foundation.

6 Comments

  1. David Thompson

    Sounds dangerous to me, inviting all those different gods into the same room. I mean just look at the split personality of Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, El, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. You have no idea which alter personality is going to show up and all of them may be there and that’s unfair to the Jews and the Muslims, because they are only represented by 2/3 of that gods split personality.

    And if you have a Hindu, you have 330 million gods in one room. Seems pretty unfair to the Sikhs. But wait, where are the Scientology adherents and the minority Christians that have over 40,000 sects/denominations, including Mormons and we don’t see them represented.

    If they are going to have a god orgy, all the minority gods should be included and that is in the thousands and all of them are being treated badly. And finally, what about the non-believers? All believers say Atheism is a religion. Shouldn’t they get invited to bring their non-god or a proxy? Doesn’t sound too well thought out yet. Send it back to committee.

  2. Just what doesn’t this administration get into? They should be speaking out about the violence that is perpetrated in the Middle East in the name of religion. Of course, with the former Secretary of State, I guess the answer would be “what does it matter.”

  1. [...] Lawmakers ask Obama for religious diversity summit (RNS) Nearly 40 members of the U.S. House, among them Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday (July 17) urging him to convene a “Religious Diversity Summit” and do more to fight discrimination against … Read more on Religion News Service [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.