Our July 2023 Peaceful Presence was hosted by the Mountain View/Palo Alto Musalla (Muslim community). The contributions on the themes of patience and hope were rich and varied!
Our host, Farha Andrabi, told the Muslim story of Hajirah, "Hope, Patience and Perseverance: The Story of Hajirah." (Some of you may know her as "Hagar." However, the story about her in the Muslim tradition has some significant and surprising differences!)
Ellen Stromberg from Congregations Beth Am and Etz Chayim, read excerpts from this piece called "Praciticing Hope" by Rabbi Betsy Forester.
Eric Sabelman told a story that came to him during a Quaker service. He titled the story "The Courier's Message." The images on the left are illustrations connected with Eric's story.
Kristi Iverson shared some teachings on "Patience," one of the Ten Paramis (or Ten Perfections) from the Buddhist tradition.
Cluster bombs are banned internationally by more than 100 countries, yet President Biden says the U.S. will send cluster munitions to Ukraine. Cluster bombs release hundreds to thousands of "bomblets" from the air that spread out over very wide areas. These small bomblets can sit ready to explode -- for decades. Far too often it is when children – thinking they are toys – pick them up - that they explode and rip off limbs of innocent children.
July 17, 2023
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice’s Steering Committee is compelled to stand with many other Americans and people of faith and goodwill around the world against the President's decision to provide cluster bombs to Ukraine. [1,2] We find that the arguments given by the President for doing so are based on expediency, flying in the face of universal condemnation of weapons of mass destruction. To resort to cluster munitions as a "temporary" solution to delayed production of other weapons does not make them less reprehensible. 
Major differences exist between cluster munitions and precisely targeted "smart" bombs and artillery shells; cluster bombs are intended to kill over a wide area, and not just a single target. The claim that only munitions with very low "dud rates" - where unexploded bomblets remain lethal - will be sent to Ukraine is subject to scrutiny, because variations between batches cannot be predicted in advance of use on the battlefield. Claims that Ukraine would not use these weapons where its own citizens would be endangered and that post-war clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance is required anyway ignore the change of citizenship in disputed territory and the risk that not all bomblets will be found in time to prevent injury to the innocent. The argument that Russia has already used cluster munitions is hardly moral justification for the US and its allies to begin using them. 
(click "Read More") for to end of letter. Click here to download a pdf of letter.
Monthly Multifaith Prayers for Peace and Justice
Peaceful Presence is sometimes hosted in-person, sometimes by Zoom, and sometimes hybrid (with both options - to join in person or via Zoom). Watch for updates!
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice coordinates “Peaceful Presence” gatherings, a monthly prayer service on the evening of the 11th of each month, offering a time of quiet multifaith prayers for peace and strength for the journey. All are welcome: those of all faith traditions and of no defined faith, those who are suffering at the hands of their own government, those who need a pause in the midst of intensive work on behalf of others, and all who would like to pray with others for the well-being of all. The prayer time will include elements from several religious traditions.
At our May 11, 2023 Peaceful Presence, hosted by Congregation Etz Chayim, Hilal Cansizoglu from The Pacifica Institute offered a this prayer she wrote drawing from her own Islamic tradition.
She explained, "In our Islamic tradition, when we want to communicate with God through our individual prayers, we like to call Him with His beautiful names and attributes, so I tried to write down a prayer as a believer in dialogue for peace and justice and call God with some of His beautiful names and attributes in my prayer."
The names of God Hilal includes are:
Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim (You are The Most Compassionate and The Most Merciful)
Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir (You are The First and You are The Last)
An-Nur and Al-Hadi (You are the Light and You are the Guide)
Al-Jami'e (You are the Gatherer, You are The Unifier)
Al-'Adl (You are The Utterly Just)Click here to download a PDF of this beautiful prayer!
ACTION ALERT: Sign a letter to Congress for Nuclear Disarmament!
MVPJ has been working for many years to support nuclear disarmament, a principle of peace and justice shared by all of our faith traditions.
A new bill in Congress can move us another step forward!
Sign a letter to Congress today, urging your Representative to become a co-sponsor of this bill!
H. RES. 77 – “Embracing the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” – was introduced last month by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The bill calls on the Biden Administration to …
• Make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of the national security policy of the United States
• Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first
• End the President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack
• Take the nuclear weapons of the United States off hair-trigger alert
• Cancel the plan to replace the nuclear arsenal of the United States with modernized, enhanced weapons.
Urge your Representative to become a co-sponsor of H.Res. 77 today! Click here to sign a letter to our local Representatives.
(Many thanks to Peninsula Peace & Justice for setting up this easy way to express our support!)
As people of faith, we must speak out! Nuclear weapons must never be used!
NEW RESOURCE: Read this 1/17/23 article by Frida Berrigan, "How to Avoid Nuclear Standoffs that Threaten the Entire World." While Berrigan does not avoid the dire consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, in her history and vision she offers hope.
History: "Small, decentralized, broad-based activities added up to the survival of the species. ... It is not hyperbole to assert that these actions drove Reagan and Gorbachev to the negotiating table."
Vision: "Anyone who cares about the future of life on this planet can be an antinuclear activist. ...
Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine are horrifying. While the threats deserve condemnation, more importantly, they require a steady response of de-escalation that pulls us back from the threat of nuclear warfare.
TELL CONGRESS THAT MORE DIPLOMACY IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT HUMAN LIVES AND OUR ENVIRONMENT!
WRITE: Join the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) letter campaign TODAY by clicking here! Easy pre-scripted letters to send to your Senators and Congressmember, or you can edit to personalize them before sending.
As the Friends Committee on National Legislation reminds us:
"Dialogue with Russia is not capitulation or appeasement. It is, in fact, the only sane response to the threat of nuclear brinksmanship. Congress has a moral responsibility to de-escalate tensions and prevent the use of nuclear weapons to preserve the environment and all humanity.
In the face of nuclear threats, the world must work together deter disaster."
In response to the increasing risk of a nuclear disaster, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice's Steering Committee has endorsed a letter to President Biden with an urgent call for the resumption of arms control negotiation. The letter was issued on September 22 by some 29 distinguished and diverse faith leaders in the New York and Washington metropolitan areas. We join with them in imploring President Biden to, for the sake of our whole human family, make the resumption of arms control negotiation his highest priority.
The multifaith letter states, in part:
We affirm the view previously expressed by religious authorities that nuclear weapons are inherently immoral because of their horrific and indiscriminate effects on civilians and on the environment.
Mr. President, for the sake of the entire human family, we urge you to press for the resumption of arms control negotiations without further delay.
Click here to download and read the entire letter.
Joint Interfaith Statement Welcoming the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (June 22 2022)
"As faith communities from a diversity of traditions and located all over the world, we join together with one voice to mark this first Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohbition of Nuclear Weapons. We welcome this historic occasion and celebrate this milestone that moves us closer to a world without nuclear weapons."
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice is honored to be an endorser of this statement along with religious communities of many traditions and from around the world. Click here to download statement and full list of endorsers.
The Statement was read aloud at the opening of the Meeting.
SPEAK - PRAY - ACT to End Gun Violence