Yarmulkes, Head Scarves, Crosses: Diversity or Disaster?

01 Sep

I have a link to this piece by Donna Jacobs Sife, a professional storyteller and writer, in the item below on school uniforms, but it is so apposite, so beautiful and so wise I really must make sure you do not miss it. Ms Sife is Jewish.

…It takes a strong and confident society, one with a clear and proud sense of identity, to embrace difference. Only a nation that is sure of itself is willing to be expanded by the experience of others, and to imagine something outside of itself.

But Australia has become so diminished that we want to take Christ out of Christmas. We trust ourselves so little that we cannot imagine coping with diverse religious expression. We think we will be weakened somehow by sharing in our varied mythologies and traditions. With the drive to secularise society, we tend to focus on the superficial rather than the essence of religious expression, forms that take the shape of materialism, or status, or singular truth, rather than the values and ethics that are held in the stories. In doing so, we forfeit part of our nation’s soul.

We all are challenged by difference. That is a perplexing truth about our species. It is one of the things we are meant to grapple with while we are here on earth. It is, I believe, one of the sacred tasks, to eventually be able to say, as did Gandhi, “I am Hindu, I am Buddhist, I am Jew, I am Christian.” To transcend difference and recognise only the shared humanness in us all. Not through denial of differenc e, but through acceptance and celebration of it. It is so often the case that the very thing we fear is what will set us free.

Amen to that, with all my heart 🙂 This transcends politics and bigotry and cynicism: we can all benefit from such a great spirit.

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Posted by on September 1, 2005 in Australia and Australian, Bible, Christianity, culture wars, education, faith and philosophy, interfaith, Islam, Multicultural, NSW politics


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