By Joshua Kinne ’13
“I know that as we go forward it’s going to take all of us- Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim, believer and non-believer to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Those were President Barack Obama’s remarks about his new Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
He went on to encourage students of all faiths to cooperate and improve interfaith relations and community involvement.
The events of 9/11 temporarily halted interfaith dialogue and religious cooperation around the country. But interfaith relations and religious diversity have been championed and supported by Pacific Lutheran University and Campus Ministry.
With the recent formation of the Interfaith Council and groups like the Muslim Association and Allies and the non-religious group, the Secular Student Alliance, religious diversity and interfaith relations have skyrocketed on campus.
“For the most part it’s been good.” said Thomas Haines, Treasurer of the Secular Student Alliance, when asked about the reaction to his atheism and the introduction of the group to the PLU community. “The people at campus ministry have been quite good at being opening and welcoming and accepting here at PLU.”
However, when I asked him how he felt about interfaith and religious diversity at PLU, Thom responded surprisingly.
“Deep down we’re all human, and I think religion just gets in the way of us trying to get along together.”
PLU’s relationship with interfaith dialogue and religious diversity seem to be developing quickly. On September 9th, a remembrance ceremony for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which included members of the Interfaith and religious groups at PLU, was held in the Amphitheater next to Mary Baker Russel Music Center.
PLU President Loren Anderson opened the ceremony by saying “We need to reflect on how we build this place, a diverse and just and supportive society.”