On Tuesday, August 31, 2021, Twelve Gates Foundation with other co sponsors, hosted a one-day meeting, among fifteen serious and distinguished participants from the Washington D.C. and New York areas.
The conference followed a simple format with a 2 hour morning session, one in the afternoon, and a hosted lunch by the sponsors that allowed participants informal time to deepen relationships and extend important conversations.
Thomas Cromwell, introduced the conference theme and guidelines to begin the morning session followed by a quick pass around the table for participant self introductions. All then followed with substantial presentations and commentary on current challenges delineated in the conference invitation:
In this meeting, we look at the nature of threats to our country and what people of faith and of conscience can do to team up effectively. Real trust and union are needed to eliminate threats to our families and culture. A deeper bond among communities and individuals sensitive to providence is needed to reclaim our freedoms and culture.
A number of degenerative materialist, nihilist, and vengeance driven ideologies challenge America and free societies with directions that are hostile to individual freedom, family, and religious and spiritual life. Each participant spoke eloquently and movingly on the subject from perspectives unique to their own histories and current professional commitmens. The broad-ranging presentations and commentary provided a far reaching grasp and definition of the challenges arising from the rapid assault on freedom and democratic life.
A special value of the presentations arose from the uncommon breadth of representation including vocation and religious community. Traditionally such themes tend to attract more uniform and homogeneous communities who gather to meet these increasingly severe challenges. This group however, included media professionals, refugee relief activists, elected officials, clergy, scholars, business leaders and more. It also included Jews, Christians, Muslims, and members of Asian religions and practice. The uncommon breadth of cultures and vocations contributed significantly to the exceptional value of the conference content.
The contributions were broad, rich, and well considered. Some were formally prepared. By lunchtime presentations accumulated to shed new light, insights and new understanding on issues which threaten our U.S. Bill of Rights-freedoms both in America and throughout the free world.
Participants included Ibrahim Anli, Carlos Cristi, Thomas Cromwell (conference co-sponsor and co-host), Carl Hagen, Tezcan Inanlar, Kalbinur Gheni, Frank Kaufmann, (conference co-sponsor and co-host), Kevin McCarthy, Robin Musiol, Bob Richards, Jason Rotondi, Charles Selengut, Cheryl Wetzstein, and others. Many here listed and some not are influential in important, known, and well established institutions ranging from business, media, electoral politics, campus activism, refugee placement and advocacy, interfaith activism, and the academy.
A key focus of the conference was to act on the fact that deeper and better interreligious relations are vital now that these negative ideologies threaten our sacred freedoms, especially religious freedom. Religions must collaborate under times of such stress. It is no longer possible for religions and believers to remain in silos when synergy is needed to withstand the dire threats facing us today.
The afternoon session involved these same participants who engaged each other’s presentations and contributions from the morning. In deeply shared purpose, participants engaged in dialogue and conversation with designs and strategies to meet and prevail over the challenges that were highlighted throughout the day.
The meeting was a good success. There will be more, and there will be a growth of activity and work arising from our plans. Please sign up for the Twelve Gates Newsletter or write us at email@example.com to be kept abreast of ongoing work in this unique niche created and achieved through our August meeting. and to involve yourself or your organization in shared work to support these critical ideals.