On Wednesday, February 19, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami joined a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic monsignor, an Episcopal bishop and a Baptist pastor for the fourth annual Permian Basin Interfaith Event. The two-hour event was videotaped, and as soon as the monastery receives it on DVD, it will be uploaded to YouTube for everyone to see.
The five speakers this year were (left to right in the first photo above):
Rabbi Holly Levin Cohn of Temple Beth El, Odessa, Texas
Msgr. Larry Droll, Pastor, St. Ann's Catholic Church, Midland, Texas
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami of Kauai's Hindu Monastery, Hawaii
Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, Bishop (Retd.), Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas
Dr. Randel Everett, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Midland, Texas
The following questions were asked of the five speakers, which each addressed with three minutes of prepared remarks:
Do you actively seek new members? How do you deal with inquirers seeking information to consider membership?
How does your faith influence your views on gay marriage, and more broadly on homosexuality in general.
What does your faith tradition have to say to those of us who do not believe in a Supernatural World, one with Gods, Spirits, Ghosts, and Demons?
Throughout the year there are many public events such as awards, banquets, board meeting for the numerous non-profit organizations and regular meetings held by Government bodies. And they are often opened with a prayer which honors or beseeches Jesus Christ.
How do you feel about this, given that often-times members of non-Christian faiths are present?
Non-Christian children are frequently told by their peers that they are going to go to hell. Knowing that such comments can create fear and insecurity in young minds, how would you address this topic with your congregation?
The answers were significantly more approachable this year, perhaps owing to the fact that the questions were less philosophical and more socio-cultural in nature than in previous years. The group has also developed a bond and momentum that displayed itself in an increased cordiality and respectful banter between them, particularly when the moderator opened the floor for the panelists to speak and pose inquiries to each other for a while before taking follow-up questions from the audience.
An article about the event appeared in the local newspaper, The Midland Reporter-Telegram, and can be read here. We look forward to presenting the video of the entire event here in the weeks to come. Stay tuned.
Laudable action to help dispel the apparent animosity feelings that may exist between people of different faiths. When the leaders come together on a platform and share their views, their followers and disciples are more prone to harmonious relationships.