The panel was moderated by Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Secretary for Health and Social Services for the Archdiocese of Boston, and panelists included:
- Barry Schrage, Brandeis University Professor of the Practice in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program;
- Rev. June R. Davis Cooper, Old South Church Theologian and Executive Director of City Mission Boston; and
- Imam Taha Hassane, Director of the Islamic Center of San Diego.
Each panelist was invited to discuss how their religious traditions work towards a more just society for all God’s people. June Cooper began with the protestant perspective, speaking to the imperative that God’s love is
Speaking to Islamic traditions, Imam
Barry Schrage spoke to the Jewish tradition of helping strangers, referring to the story of Abraham who didn’t preach the way of the Lord but showed the way by helping strangers, even in his own times of pain.
Reverend Hehir described the Catholic faith as “grounded in biblical imperative and the state of the world,” speaking to respect for
Attendees were prompted to converse with those seated at their table about how the panelists’ works have impacted their thinking. This resulted in questions for the panelists that sparked discussions about the role of the individual versus the collective, how to balance creating a just world with personal and worldly imperfections, and the meaning of equality and the common good in the different traditions.
The panelists spoke to the importance of doing justice as a core part of faith. Schrage said, “God is not satisfied with prayers, God is demanding justice.”
Reverend Cooper told a story of collecting socks for the homeless, pointing out that justice is not only helping those in immediate need but creating a more just society as a whole: “People are always going to need the socks, but go
While each religion differs in their beliefs and traditions, one common theme that was reinforced throughout the evening was the importance of loving and serving others – regardless of faith, gender, race, or culture – in the pursuit of social justice.