THE BLOG
09/27/2012 01:19 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

We Must Learn to Be Inter-religious

The tragic deaths in Libya are a reminder that we must be careful of the "gangs" we belong to. We must not let our religious faith lead us to behave in violent and divisive ways.

The responsibility of every global citizen today is to refuse to be led by irresponsible extremism posing as one of the Abrahamic religions. When Christian extremism fuels the fires of faith-based violence, it is our responsibility to stand up and to speak out as Christians in defense of authentic Christian values: love, justice and compassion.

Make no mistake about it: the so-called Christian pastor who stirred this act of bigotry against Islam has hijacked Christianity.

The truth is that all the world religions advocate living out of the House of Love, not the House of Fear -- and one of our most deeply held convictions is that to be religious in the 21st century is to be inter-religious. We can not stand by while fear is leveraged into demonization and polarization against any other beloved child of God. We must encourage all people of good will -- religious or not -- to overcome hatred and fear with love by seeking to understand Islam as a religion of peace.

As a priest and pastor, my Christian faith has been strengthened by sharing the Ramadan journey with my Muslim brothers and sisters and by celebrating the High Holy Days with my Jewish colleagues. We are called as followers of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves -- all our neighbors. And bigotry against any class of people or religion is not only antithetical to the core values of our Christian faith, it plays into the hands of fear mongers and of those who profiteer from war.