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COVID-19: Religious Leaders Call for Unity and Humanity
By Sentinel News Service
Published March 25, 2020

              Rev. John E. Cager III (Courtesy photo)

An editorial last week in the L.A. Times began: “The coronavirus outbreak may have you feeling scared, frustrated, and powerless.  In stressful times, there’s a tendency to panic and, say, buy up all the pasta and bottled water.   But we’re all in this together, and it’s far better for all involved if we choose to help our fellow human beings rather than rip the last roll of toilet paper from their hands….”

We, the members of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders, could not agree more.   The panic buying and hoarding we are witnessing is of no value – this country has been graced with an abundance of food, enough for everyone – and creates great hardships on so many people, especially the elderly who do not have easy access to stores and those with low incomes who cannot always access stores when there is something left on the shelves to buy.

All of our faiths ascribe to some version of the Golden Rule:

  • In the Jewish Book, Pirkei Avot, it reads: “What is hurtful to you, do not do to your fellow man.   This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.”
  • In the Gospel according to Matthew, we read: “Therefore, all such things as you wish men might do to you, so do to them as well, for this is the Law and the prophets.”
  • In the Islamic Hadiths, we read: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
  • In the Hindu Mahabharata: “This is the sum of duty:  do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”
  • In the Buddhist Udanavarga: “Hurt not others in way that your yourself would find hurtful.”
  • Sikh Guru Granth Sahib taught: “I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.”
  • And in the Gleanings of the Baha’i Faith, we read:  “Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”

Let us live these teachings from our sacred texts, respecting the dignity of each and every human being, helping one another, and in so doing we will get through this Coronavirus Pandemic together.

The Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders

The Rev. John E. Cager, president  (AME Church Ministerial Alliance)

Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, vice president (L.A. Board of Rabbis, Temple Beth Hillel)

Canon Robert Williams, secretary (Episcopal Archdiocese of Los Angeles)

The Venerable Bhante Chao Chu, president, Los Angeles Buddhist Union

The Rev. Linda Culbertson, general presbyter, Presbyterian Church USA

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate, Western Diocese, Armenian Church

Randolph Dobbs, Los Angeles Baha’i Center

“Sistah” Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director of Social Action, Connectional AME Church

Bishop R. Guy Erwin, Southwest California Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rabbi Morley Feinstein, Rabbi Emeritus, University Synagogue

The Most Rev. Jose Gomez, Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, California Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church

Commissioner Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, California Sikh Council

Swami Mahayogananda, Vedanta Society of Southern California

Brother Omar Ricci, president, Islamic Center of Southern California

Pravrajika Saradeshaprana, Vedanta Society of Southern California

Swami Sarvadevananda, Vedanta Society of Southern California

Sister Hedab Tarifi, Islamic Center of Southern California

The Rev. K.W. Tulloss, President, Baptist Minister’s Conference of Los Angeles

The Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor, Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Rev. Felix Villanueva, Conference Minister, SCNC, United Churches of Christ

Mr. Roy Weinstein, Past President, University Synagogue

Categories: COVID-19 | Health | Religion
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