In 1995 Frank Kelly, a WW II veterans and co-founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation invited some of us to watch a video that seemed to be one answer for our war torn planet.
“Peace Like River” is an inspiring, well-produced documentary about the Second Parliament of the World’s Religions that met for a week in Chicago in 1993 to address some of the world’s problems. Representatives from almost every religion met as they had a hundred years before at the first Parliament in 1893. Issues of poverty, war, hunger, human rights and the environment were discussed in depth and vows were taken to do something about these problems. “A Global Ethic” was drafted and signed by most of the participants.
Critics of religion will find it refreshing that these religious leaders took responsibility for doing something about all these problems. I feel that the religions of the world, that already have functioning organizations and members can be a very powerful instrument to help save our planet and its inhabitants from human folly.
I was fortunate to meet with one of the organizers who was justly proud of the event, but she was disappointed by feedback from some of the participants after they returned to their congregations. Some of their enthusiasm for reaching out to other religions fell on deaf ears. Fortunately the movement is alive and well today. Google: “Parliament of the World’s Religions” for information, a down-loadable copy of “The Global Ethic” and maybe buy a DVDs about the event. It is inspiring.