People have been killing in the name of God for as long as they've believed in one or even many. From Northern Ireland to Bosnia to Pakistan, religious strife continues to cause intense pain and violence. It's amazing what people will do when they believe God is on their side.
Recognizing this, a global interfaith alliance of religious activists officially launched the United Religions Initiative (URI) last week with a charter-signing ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, writes Jane Lampman in the Christian Science Monitor. During the organization's four-year gestation period, local groups on six continents have organized some 160 projects aimed at what they have defined as the URI purpose: to promote enduring interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence, and create cultures of peace, justice, and healing.
'In Pakistan, for example, where religious intolerance has spawned physical attacks and killings, a multifaith caravan traveled 2,000 miles across the country earlier this year to galvanize public and government attention.'
Lampman continues, 'The initial inspiration for URI came from Bishop William Swing, of the Episcopal Diocese of California, who was asked in 1993 to host an interfaith service to commemorate the United Nations' 50th anniversary. Given the role religion was playing in many civil conflicts, Bishop Swing began talking with other people of faith about becoming a force for change. Go there>>