Presiding bishop, retired Washington bishop join anti-hate effort

August 7, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s is the latest voice to join the 2012 Hours Against Hate campaign.

Jefferts Schori’s video message, posted Aug. 2, notes the world’s “incredible diversity,” which she said “as a scientist and a person of faith, I think that’s an enormous blessing” because “each one of us comes with a different gift.”

“At the same time, there is an ancient human tendency to distinguish oneself from people whom one understands as ‘other’,” she said, adding that such distinctions can be either a blessing to the other person, or a way to allow for viewing the other as an enemy.

“People of faith are called routinely to see the other as a person like themselves,” she said. “We are called as Christians to love our enemies, to understand every human person as carrying the image of God.”

Jefferts Schori said that the campaign is an invitation to step across artificial boundaries to discover friends among the other, and to join together to make the world a better place.

Retired Diocese of Washington Bishop John Chane also contributed a video message to the campaign’s YouTube channel.

The Episcopal Church, at its recently completed 77th General Convention, took a stand against bullying, calling in Resolution D022 for  “a churchwide response to the epidemic of bullying, particularly of those perceived as being ‘different’ by virtue of economic, ethnic, racial or physical characteristics, religious status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The U.S. State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal launched the campaign in February 2011 as a way to “stop bigotry and promote respect across lines of culture, religion, tradition, class, and gender,” according to the department’s website.

The two women ask “young people around the world to pledge their time to stop hate – to do something for someone who doesn’t look like you, pray like you, or live like you.”

“We are asking the next generation to work together to build a stronger, more tolerant world,” they said on the website. “No one group can do it alone.”

The campaign has a Facebook page here.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said July 31 that the campaign “has elicited commitments from young people around the world to spend tens of thousands of hours walking in someone else’s shoes.” She noted that it has become one of the London Olympics’ official initiatives.

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