The True Heart of Religion

by Penny Nixon

Just reflect back on the past eight months—the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the Christ Church New Zealand mosque attack, and then on Easter Sunday, the massacre at multiple churches in Sri Lanka. All acts of terror perpetrated against faith communities.

My heart aches for the people of Sri Lanka, whose wounds are so fresh, and for the people of Pittsburgh and Christ Church, whose lives are forever altered. And, my heart is broken for all those who have been broken and crushed by the dogma and hate that religion has fueled—most of whose names will go unspoken and lives unrecognized.

I have received beautiful notes from my interfaith colleagues—here is an example of the true heart of religion:

Dear Reverend Nixon,

I was horrified to see the events in Sri Lanka where hundreds were killed while peacefully worshiping and celebrating Easter.

My heart is with each of you as you lead your congregations today, and with every member of the Christian and Catholic faith.

When anyone from any faith community is attacked in this way, it is as though all of us are attacked as well.

As you stood with us after the Tree of Life massacre in October, we stand with you today, and every day.

My heart and prayers are with you and your communities. If there are specific ways we can best support you and your communities, we are here with you and here for you.

With love and blessings from me and the Jewish community,

Stephanie Levin

Peninsula Jewish Community Center