The Church of Scientology in Nashville opened its doors to people of many faiths for a special interfaith breakfast and dialogue in observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Nashville, Tennessee, February 12, 2018 (Newswire.com) - Last July, USA Today ran an article “The State of Hate in America,” on the alarming spike in hate crimes in the country. In one instance covered in the article, two men on a Portland train were stabbed to death while trying to stop a white supremacist’s anti-Muslim tirade against two teenage girls.
“In order to truly combat religious discrimination in this day and age, we have to come together and learn about the religious beliefs of others,” says Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology Nashville, who invited people of many different faiths and cultures to take part in an innovative and unique interfaith dialogue February 1 to mark World Interfaith Harmony Week.
"In order to truly combat religious discrimination in this day and age, we have to come together and learn about the religious beliefs of others
Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology Nashville
Participants included members of the Sikh, Baha’i, and Humanist traditions, as well as Scientologists.
What made the morning memorable was the way the discussion took place.
Fesler divided the group into breakout sessions with people of various faiths at each table.
“We were challenged to explain some of the basic tenets of our faith in just a few minutes to someone who would then explain it to the group,” said one of the participants. “It was a lot of fun, and a big thumbs up to the organizers.”
Carrying out the activity this way, people learned much more about others’ faiths, as they had to in order to present them accurately to someone else. It gave everyone an opportunity to clarify their own beliefs and understand the beliefs of others represented in the group.
Rev. Fesler explained that the Creed of the Church of Scientology by Founder L. Ron Hubbard states “We of the Church believe that all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights,” and “That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance.”
“It is part of our very fabric to support others’ rights to practice their religion in peace, so that is what we are lifting up through this dialogue,” he said.
In creating Interfaith Harmony Week in October 2010, the United Nations stressed that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.” It was hoped that religions would work together “to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith” because “the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding.”