PHILADELPHIA – A Wiccan High Priestess took part in an interfaith prayer circle today as part of the activities surrounding the Democratic National Convention this week. The DNC Prayer Circle is hosting this four day event, during which clergy and other faith leaders representing various communities lead attendees in a short prayer daily at 9:00 am. High Priestess Karen Bruhin with the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and Tenders of the Earth Temple joined Eileen Bowman with Soka Gakkai International: Nichiren Buddhism, and Dr. Jessica Russo with Falun Dafa for today’s prayers. The DNC Prayer Circle organizers said that they host these events because their members believe “… the work that the delegates will do inside for the DNC, and the work that the demonstrators will do on the streets of Philadelphia, are both worthy of spiritual support.”
They also said that they want to help the city and the world to come together and heal spiritually.
MELBOURNE — The Black Lives Matter movement has reached Australia. So far, there have been rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane. The ABC, Australia’s state-owned and funded national public broadcaster, reported that 3,500 people attended the Melbourne rally on Sunday, July 17. The movement, which began in the U.S., has a struck a chord with Australia’s aboriginal people. Although aboriginal people make up only about 3% of the Australian population, they reportedly make up 26% of the prison population.
Right now the United States is immersed in a flurry of political wrangling, our two major parties wrapping up, or about to begin, major conventions that they hope will sell their candidate to an increasingly disaffected electorate. For those of us who exist on the margins of America’s tapestry of faith and religion, it can seem doubly alienating. A celebration of what we are not. Certainly there have been inroads, the Republican National Convention invited a Sikh to give an opening invocation (albeit one you could only see on C-SPAN), and the Democratic National Convention has enshrined marriage equality in their national platform, but for the most part these events are exercises in affirming a certain bland, comfortable, (mostly) non-controversial all-American idiom (from different political lenses, to be sure). They are not, despite what activists from both sides desire, moments that dare confront or change the status quo.
Quite a bit of attention has been paid to the closing Democratic National Convention benediction made by evangelical pastor Dr. Joel C. Hunter of Northland Church in Florida. Specifically the closing instruction made by Hunter.”Now I interrupt this prayer for a closing instruction. I want to personalize this. I want this to be a participatory prayer. And so therefore, because we are in a country that is still welcoming all faiths, I would like all of us to close this prayer in the way your faith tradition would close your prayer.”This openness to all faith traditions greatly moved many people, including Pagan delegate Rita Moran, who had this to say about the benediction.”At the end of a wonderful, joyful night, complete with fireworks and confetti (including a cascade of white stars), came an invocation.
Just to remind my readers keeping track of the Democratic National Convention that our own embedded Pagan reporters over at Blue Pagans at the DNC will be sending in regular updates as everything unfolds. Maine delegate Rita Moran has already posted her impressions of the opening interfaith ceremony. “The high point for me, where Rev. Daughtry proved how inclusive she had planned the service to be, came when she stated, “We are created in the image of our Creator, whatever we call Him or Her.” Acknowledgment of the feminine divine truly demonstrated how inclusive the Democratic Party is, and made me proud to be a Democrat.”Be sure to read the entire post. You can keep track of future posts from Blue Pagans at the DNC in a number of ways.