The storming of the Capitol on January 6 has left many people shaken and freshly reminded of the virulent power of white supremacy in the United States. The offerings below, from a variety of traditions, are meant to provide reassurance in a time of tumult and strength for the struggle against white nationalism, white supremacy, and all manifestations of hate.
A message from Rev. Alison L. Boden, Ph.D. for the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Please view on the ORL YouTube page.
Remind us, O God,
that you hold all of humanity in the palm of your loving hand,
that you call us to embody your love to all people,
that we change the world when we simply live
by honesty, humility, integrity, compassion, and love,
that you have promised justice to be our shared inheritance,
and that your invitation to join you in its fulfillment is the purpose and joy of our lives.
- Rev. Alison Boden, Ph.D., Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel
स्वस्त्यस्तु विश्वस्य खल: प्रसीदतां
ध्यायन्तु भूतानि शिवं मिथो धिया ।
मनश्च भद्रं भजतादधोक्षजे
आवेश्यतां नो मतिरप्यहैतुकी ॥ ९ ॥
svasty astu viśvasya khalaḥ prasīdatāṁ
dhyāyantu bhūtāni śivaṁ mitho dhiyā
manaś ca bhadraṁ bhajatād adhokṣaje
āveśyatāṁ no matir apy ahaitukī
"May the entire universe be blessed with peace and hope. May everyone driven by envy and enmity become pacified and reconciled. May all living beings develop abiding concern for the welfare of others. May our own hearts and minds be filled with purity and serenity. May all these blessings flow naturally from this supreme benediction: May our attention become spontaneously absorbed in the rapture of pure love unto the one transcendent Supreme." (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 5.18.9; transl. by Ravindra Svarupa Das)
The unprecedented storming of the U.S. Capitol by a treasonous mob, incited by the seditious urging of a leader who has demonstrated unparalleled recklessness and moral bankruptcy, is a wake-up call to us all. As we struggle to make sense of this painful moment, we might remember this benediction, found in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and attributed to the celebrated child saint Prahlada. Prahlada himself suffered the devastation wrought by a corrupt, ego-driven, exploitative leader. Yet, in response, he prayed for reconciliation and healing. In this spirit, may we too meet the forces of hatred and division with the infinitely greater power of love and unity.
- Vineet Chander, Hindu Life Chaplain and Coordinator of Hindu Life
Jewish prayer, there is regular practice called tachanun (supplications) in which we put our heads on our arms and acknowledge our failures and shortcomings. Human beings are all imperfect. So are the nations that they lead and the societies that they build.
Repentance and forgiveness are also core tenets of Jewish belief. We can get better. We can make amends. Even in our darkest moments there can be forgiveness. The relationships that have been blemished can, with effort and persistence, be restored.
Jews around the world celebrated Chanukah just a couple of weeks ago. The Temple in Jerusalem was desecrated millennia ago as the Capitol Building was desecrated days ago. But the Temple was restored and rededicated – this is indeed the Chanukah miracle.
May we work together towards reconciliation and rededication to the lofty ideals that this country was founded upon. It is then that America can rededicate our Capitol Building once again as the shining light, the beacon of democracy, for all the world to see.
- Rabbi Ira Dounn, Senior Jewish Educator, Center for Jewish Life
In the Name of God, the All Merciful, the Very Merciful
And truly with the hardship, there is ease. Truly with the hardship, there is ease.
- Qur’an, Ch. 94, verses 5-6.
Every now and then, we are met with events that stir us from our slumber. These days, such events seem to occur more and more, as with the recent storming of our nation’s Capitol. I am reminded that it is often friction between two sides that brings about change and growth by awakening us to the reality of an underlying illness that needs treatment. My hope is that we do not lose this opportunity to heal and grow. May God guide us and our leaders towards all that is good and just. May the One who Unites unite our hearts and grant us resilience in the face of injustice, for truly with the hardship, there is ease.
- Sabrina F. Mirza, Assistant to the Muslim Life Chaplain
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased alone by love. This is the eternal law.
- The Buddha (Dhamapada V.5)
Interestingly this is the translation I know and most use, but in the pali original the it is "hatred is never appeased by hatred....by non-hatred alone it is appeased. verena (hatred) averena (non-hatred). I'm wondering if the standard translation goes back to early Christian translators. There is surely love in early Buddhism (metta), but non-hatred is truer to the spirit of the mental condition ultimately sought.
- Matthew Weiner, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Religious Life
Please visit these resources below.
- Books and readings on Spirituality, Religion, and Race
- Christianity & White Supremacy conference which includes link to Opening and Closing Panels
- An Evening with Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated "Central Park Five"
- The Lection Project