Opinion: "Interreligious Harmony Gets Very Little Press"

July 30, 2005

Source: L.A. Daily News


On July 30, 2005 the L.A. Daily News ran an opinion piece by Jonathan Dobrer, a professor of comparative religion at the University of Judaism in Bel-Air who recently conducted a panel discussion as part of the university's Great Faiths program. "For most of the last 1,700 years, just a Catholic priest in a Jewish institution would have been considered remarkable. A Catholic and a Protestant in dialogue before 1950 would have received press coverage. The Rev. Billy Graham's comment recently that he was 'looking forward to seeing Pope John Paul II in heaven,' would have been big news, maybe even a scandal in Protestant circles, only 40 years ago. Now, add to this already pretty special panel a Muslim! Take our picture and go back in time, to any other time, and people would be incredulous... The news tends to focus on things that do not work, when people fight, when there is blood -- or the next best thing, pithy sound bites. But sometimes, in fact most of the time, the planes arrive; we come home from our adventures on the road unbloodied and physically unscathed... I ask for no suppression of the news, nor do I seek any escape from the pain of the world. I want only that these relatively uncommon but still devastating facts of hate, violence and fear be balanced by the unphotogenic truth of our common human decency."