Friday, January 29, 2010

Today, we stood united.

For those of you who aren't on the FAITH e-mail list, or otherwise associated with Stanford University, today, the campus was put to a test. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church came to Stanford with signs saying "God hates America," "God hates Jews," "You will eat your babies,"and were bent solely on dividing our community and sweeping in hate. From my perspective, Stanford passed the test.
Standing along with the couple hundred students who made their way to the Hillel lawn this morning at 8am, we showed WBC, but most importantly, we showed ourselves that this community did not tolerate hatred; rather, we chose to show support and love. Looking around the crowd this morning, it was so encouraging to see people from every end of the social spectrum singing "We've got the whole world in our hands," and meeting people they never knew while actively discussing the importance of coming out and showing their support this morning. Yes, I seriously heard students saying, "this is the most important thing I've done this school year."
As some members of FAITH were saying at a meeting last night, Westboro Church, itself, is insignificant, but the fact that the hate exists and is willing to travel to promote that message is the broader issue. From some people I've spoken to, I have heard the opinion that it was discouraging that it took outsiders to come to our campus to instigate this feeling of unity. I, personally, disagree. I think, as previously stated, the Westboro was insignificant. However, the fact that the student body is now aware that these types of group exist and we, as a community, have shown that hate-mongering and bigotry will not be tolerated here, shows that these sentiments of support and unity existed before, and now it is up to us, the students, to carry over this feeling into action for the future. Such is one aspect of the mission of FAITH, to promote interfaith understanding and tolerance through action, and I think we've seen that our community is ready and receptive to these types of ventures, and I, for one, am inspired and reinvigorated. In the words of the Iranian philosopher, Baha'u'llah, "So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." Let us further light this world with our unity and love for one another.

In peace,

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