It is shameful that we live in a world where marriage, modesty in dress and the practice of religion are policed by the government. It is shameful that we are so afraid of difference that we go to incredible extents as a community to persecute those who are different from us.
If I ask you what the human rights, civil rights or environmental movements are about, you likely can give a semi-coherent description. The interfaith relations movement, on the other hand, has no defined brand.
Religious diversity is a natural part of life, and it is becoming even more important to be able to understand and interact with people who have different views. We must accept that our children may not choose to think what we think -- and perhaps that is what scares us the most.
For Christians, how does a gospel of love turn into a gospel of hate toward fellow countrymen in Africa? For Muslims, how does a religion of peace get turned into a mandate for murder in Iraq, the Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere?
When we see all the evil that is done in the name of religion, we naturally want no part of it. But the truth is, the problem isn't with religion per se. The problem is with seeing religion as an end unto itself.
I believe in an America that will overcome these difficult times in the next 10 years and help create a better future for people of all faiths (or people of no faith), be they Christian, Jewish or Muslim.