NEWS & ANALYSIS

News & Analysis

Abraham Lincoln Bible surfaces, offers clues to his religious beliefs

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President Abraham Lincoln’s 150-year-old Bible was gifted to his neighbor, Rev. Noyes W. Miner, by his widowed wife, Mary. Miner’s family has passed it down and recently donated it so the public can now view it. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum)

Interfaith growth and development involve not only occasions of interreligious encounter and affirmation, but also involve delving deeper into each, specific religious path, sometimes my own faith, sometimes the faith of others.

In interfaith encounters and spaces, especially in the West, there often tends to be great breadth and embrace for every world religion, but suddenly doors shut when Christianity steps into the spotlight. Knee-jerk reactions immediately suspect bias or proselytization.

This is a habit and reaction we must come to transcend and overcome. It always should arouse in us interest and a supportive mind, whenever we have the chance to learn about any religious or spiritual tradition.

This article examines and inquires into a fascinating part of religious and United States history, looking at a rare artifact, and seeking insights into the spiritual path of a modern figure who changed the course of history, and shone a light onto the path of human equality (Frank Kaufmann, President, IRFWP)

She wrote that Miner was “a friend very much beloved by my husband” and historians speculate the former first lady gave the Bible to Miner as a way to protect her husband’s legacy as she had angrily rejected assertions that he was an atheist.

Miner once wrote that Lincoln “believed not only in the overwhelming Providence of God, but in the divinity of the Sacred Scriptures” and that the first lady told him at Ford’s Theater that Lincoln was planning a post-White House visit to Jerusalem to “see the places hallowed by the footsteps of the Saviour.”

Read the entire fascinating article here

Universal Prayers for Jerusalem, Prayers of Hope from Twelve Gates Foundation Leader

International Conference on Cohesive Societies to discuss issues surrounding faith, identity and cohesion

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President Halimah Yacob at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies on June 19, 2019.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The event aims to be a platform for conversations on strengthening interfaith understanding and developing new ideas to foster greater harmony in societies.

The conference is attended by around 1,000 delegates from close to 40 countries. They include academics, government officials and members of religious and civil society groups, who will discuss broader issues surrounding faith, identity, and cohesion.

Participants will also take part in workshops to discuss topics such as overcoming hate, faith and technology, and global peace-building efforts.

Read the entire article here

Interfaith Girl Scouts Combat Hate

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Photo courtesy of the Interfaith Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan

Brenda Rosenberg, native Detroiter and interfaith activist, is the Jewish liaison to the Interfaith Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. This group not only works to combat hatred among independent cultural groups starting at young ages, but also aims to develop myriad events meant to bring young girls with different backgrounds together.

“Several years ago, Suzanne Bante, who chairs the Interfaith Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan, contacted the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and wanted to speak to Jewish women who were interested in interfaith work,” Rosenberg said. “I was one of those women.”

Said Bante, “I believe that Girl Scouts offers young women (and sometimes their families) the opportunity to learn about individuals who have different backgrounds and faith traditions in a non-threatening way. Understanding of religious diversity is required to prepare our young women for the future.”

Read the full article here.

G20 Interfaith Forum 2019

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Tomohiro Ohsumi, For the Deseret News
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center left, is surrounded by attendees after a session during the G20 Interfaith Forum in Chiba, Japan, on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

“Religious communities have both the surge capacity to respond to immediate needs such as arise with natural disasters and also staying capacity to help address long-term human needs,” said Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In other words, religions are more than sets of rituals and beliefs. They are global networks equipped to respond to global problems.

“Religious communities offer unique connection between international and local organizations,” Elder Gong said.

Read the entire article here.

Hong Kong interreligious group meets Pope Francis

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Pope Francis with leaders of 6 religions in Hong Kong (Vatican Media)
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center left, is surrounded by attendees after a session during the G20 Interfaith Forum in Chiba, Japan, on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Religious leaders from Hong Kong visit the Vatican and receive Pope Francis’ blessing, as they strive to improve interreligious relations.

The leaders of 6 religions in Hong Kong are in Rome this week to mark the 40th anniversary of an organization dedicated to improving interreligious ties.

These 6 religions are Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

“As human beings, we have to rely on one another in order to survive and be well, and we have to accommodate one another so that we can thrive,” he said. “If we are in harmony in our thoughts, we won’t fight one another.”

Read the entire article here.