July 17, 2024

USA: 9th Parliament of World Religions

USA: 9th Parliament of World Religions

In the United States, religious leaders from 95 countries gathered this week at the World Parliament of Religions. More than 6,500 delegates debated the role of conscience in protecting freedom and human rights. Chicago is hosting the 9th World Parliament so far.

In his speech, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blaze Kubich, appealed to the world parliament to work together “to meet the challenges we face to ensure freedom, rights and dignity for all.” Technological advancements “really mean talking to people in the neighborhood and people on the other side of the world.”

At the same time, the archbishop, appointed a cardinal by Pope Francis, warned of a loss of dialogue between different groups. It’s easier than ever to “talk only to those we care most about” and rarely or never listen to those who disagree. People today can be “demonic and inhuman” because they are not physical. It is the job of religions to stabilize society.

unity in diversity

Religious leaders signed a joint parliamentary statement warning of the rise of authoritarianism and appealing for shared responsibility to protect climate and human rights. Rashad Hussain, the US ambassador for religious freedom, emphasized in an interview on the sidelines of the conference: “We are not looking for unity, but we are looking for unity in our goals.” Religion should always be a “force for good”.

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When the parliament was formed 130 years ago, one of its aims was to prevent people from killing each other because they believed in different things, said Paul Rauschenbusch, president of the Interfaith Alliance. “Unfortunately, there are still people today who want to kill each other because of this.” This is compounded by the dangers of authoritarian political models, which are often fueled by religious sources. “It’s a global phenomenon.”

(kna – md)