We are living in a tumultuous time for our nation, and our world. The hatred and ugliness of racial prejudice has reared its horrible head again, although it has been with us for over 400 years.

However, at this time, it appears that mankind is looking at this horrendous hatred and realizing we cannot continue to bury it. Hundreds of thousands of people, of all races, all over the world, have been mostly peacefully protesting this injustice towards a basic right of humanity – that we all are one people, and we all deserve the same rights and the same justice.

From the Baha’i Writings, “O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight Path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structures.” Baha’u’llah, “Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah”

To help us solve this challenging issue, we need to meet it head on. From the early days of civilization, there have always been diverse races. Sadly, years ago, certain races felt their color made them superior and established slavery and other servitude constraints. In the United States, we fought a terrible civil war to end this bondage of other human beings.

While the war is over and slavery abolished, we are still fighting a cancer on our society with some people feeling superior to other races and cultures. Our world has shrunk, and we have grown with international travel, and a reliance on other nations to help us with trade, peace and common problems of our planet. Collectively, mankind can solve these mutual situations by working together for the benefit of all.

‘Abdu’l-Baha said: ”God maketh no distinction between the white and the black. If the hearts are pure, both are acceptable unto Him. God is no respecter of persons on account of either color or race. All colors are acceptable unto Him. In the estimation of God, all men are equal. There is no preference for any one soul, in the realm of His justice and equity. God did not make these divisions, these divisions have had their origin in man himself. Therefore as they are against the plan and purpose of God they are false.”

The following part of a song, “We Are One” by Dan Seals, was sung in 2000, and really focuses on the mood of our country at this time. By ignoring the God-given right that all human beings live in the same family of man, we are pushing ourselves farther away from our Creator. Let us try to come together to solve this huge injustice.

“We are one

Flowers of one garden.

We’re one – the leaves of one tree

Let the walls come down

And stand here together

We are one family.

In an old part of Jerusalem

Two children are playing.

They run and laugh

The way it’s meant to be.

But one will wear the star

And one will wear the crescent

And they’ll grow up and change from friends to enemies.

On a side street in Selma

A black child is sitting

In a squad car

Protected from the whites.

‘Cause they’re burning a cross

To send her a message.

You can see the fear in her eyes.

We are one

Flowers of one garden.

We’re one – the leaves of one tree

Let the walls come down

And stand here together

We are one family.”

The realization that dissension and strife are not the answers to a more peaceful world is surely evident. The question is: How can we, as individuals, make a positive difference towards a more loving, caring, and understanding society?

“One must see in every human being that which is worthy of praise. When this is done, one can be a friend to the whole human race. If, however, we look at people from the standpoint of their faults, then being a friend to them is a formidable task.” --‘Abdu’l-Baha

We have been taught all our lives to love our neighbors, to do good deeds, to care for the sick and the impoverished – what better time can we find , than the present, to finally put these teachings into practice?

On April 24, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Baha was visiting America and gave a talk at a home in Washington, D.C. and specifically addressed the importance of racial unity: “When the racial elements of The American nation unite in actual fellowship and accord, the lights of the oneness of humanity will shine, the day of eternal glory and bliss will dawn, the spirit of God encompass, and the divine favors descend. Under the leadership and training of God, the real Shepherd, all will be protected and preserved. He will lead them in green pastures of happiness and sustenance, and they will attain the real goal of existence. This is the blessing and benefit of unity; this is the outcome of love. This is the sign of the Most Great Peace; this is the star of the oneness of the human world. Consider how blessed this condition will be. I pray for you and ask the confirmation and assistance of God in your behalf.”

To sum up the idea of uniting the hearts of mankind, here is another message from ‘Abdu’l-Baha:

“But there is a need of a superior power to overcome human prejudices, a power which nothing in the world of mankind can withstand and which will overshadow the effect of all other forces at work in human conditions. That irresistible power is the LOVE OF GOD. It is my hope and prayer that it may destroy the prejudice of this one point of distinction between you and unite you all permanently under its hallowed protection.”

Susan Haines is a retired teacher and reading specialist who found the Baha’i faith as a teenager, traveling to a Baha’i Summer Institute, Green Acre, in Maine. Having lived in Frederick County for over 40 years, she serves as the Baha’i public information officer for the Baha’is of Frederick.

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