Fighting for…Peace Among Religions

If you would allow me a proud parent moment please.

I often struggle (daily sometimes) to try and make sense out of our upside down, topsy-turvy world in which we live.  And then sometimes, I get whacked upside-the-head with a reminder that there are people working every day to make the world better and more peaceful.

Forget for a moment what you may or may not think of Notre Dame football or any Catholic institution.  I’m right there at the forefront criticizing the church when it rightly deserves it.  But when they do something right, it’s good to remember that too.

I have a daughter who graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a minor in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute.  She has taken what she learned and is putting it out there everyday working to advance causes and ideals that promote peace and social justice.

For anyone who may have forgotten 2009, newly elect President Barak Obama was the commencement speaker at Notre Dame and it set off massive protests and demonstrations at the campus from the far right wing and conservative Catholic movements.  Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins fronted unbelievable confrontation but stood his ground.

This past Saturday I enjoyed watching the Fighting Irish win their first football game of the year.  However, the biggest thrill for me had nothing to do with the on-field activities.   I was thrilled beyond words when I saw the University’s “What Would You Fight For” segment that airs on every game.  It’s their moment to tell a larger audience about all the educational and other activities that the University does to promote education, peace and social justice.

Rashied Omar, Ph.D. Professor of Peace Studes at the University of Notre Dame

There it was…a professor from the Kroc Institute of Peace…a Muslin Imam talking about how he is working for “peace among religions.”  A professor my daughter was privileged to study under while an undergraduate.  A Muslim, talking to a Notre Dame football audience about “seeing god in all things.”  I loved it.  And whether he meant to or not, I couldn’t help but think that Father Jenkins had told all those right wing conservatives once again… “sorry folks, you can’t box god into just one view (yours) and as another reminder, peace is always worth pursuing.”

It’s worth watching the two-minute video just to hear an Imam say, “We are the fighting Irish.”



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