Neither campaigns nor jihads can justify either lies or bombings. The Holy One cannot be manipulated into endorsing tactics over people. The so-called faith of both extremist and fundamentalist is just another tactic in their pursuit of power. Any "faith" that does not require of its adherents to be kind, peaceful, and just -- even when personally inconvenient -- or challenge the legitimacy of governments that fail to foster and defend the same in society, is contrary to the wisdom teachings of all the prophets.
Faith is compassion. Faith is kindness and hospitality to the stranger. Faith is a love that seeks to love without limits. Faith is feeding the hungry; faith is justice and equality for everyone enshrined into civil law. Faith is international economic and social justice. Faith is constructing the social conditions that make for peace everywhere, leaving no person or people behind. Faith is ensuring that every resource is used for the common good. Faith is the sure knowledge that wherever there is suffering, it is there that the Holy One can be found. And faith leads the believer there, before going to temple, church, or mosque. Finally, faith is the deep understanding that we live in relationship with Mother Earth, and that she recognizes neither nation nor border.
For the powerful of this world, people are subjects to be used, abused, exploited, violated, ignored, humiliated, consumed, or eliminated in pursuit of their agendas. For the faithful, though, people are always, with all of their foibles and follies, cherished and revered.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.