Most of the great religions have embraced multiculturalism and diversity . The multicultural fabric of the United States is extremely fragile and must be carefully protected. This is true in New York and especially in Queens which is probably the most diverse community in the United States.
The fight for diversity requires ongoing efforts. The legacy of racism, sexism, homophobism, classism, anti-Semitism, and other "isms" runs very deep in the U.S. One scholar of diversity recently said that at best people who have not experienced the sting of racism can be considered as "recovering racists." Regrettably, there are still today examples of the overt practice of racism and other "isms." Far more prevalent and dangerous, however, are their subtle forms and practices.
The fight for diversity starts with introspection and local action. It cannot be fostered by tokenism or paternalism. It requires hard and proactive work. Truly we can only shine in the shine of others.
Questions for Shinga Takikawa and Yuzui Murata:
When will there be a diverse and international NST priesthood? When will there be women, African American, Latino and non-Japanese priests? If there are gay priests, when will they be able to speak out?
When will your sermons include references to the accomplishments of people of all races and backgrounds?
When will there be honest discussions about issues faced by people of color, women, and gays and lesbians?
How can we build bridges to people of other faiths? When will criticisms of other religions cease? Why has Islam been singled out for attack (click here)?
How can you assure equity for members who live in the outer boroughs (many people of color) and members who live in Manhattan (mainly Caucasian)? Will the temple eventually be moved to Manhattan to suit the latter?
Can NST members strengthen multicultural friendships with people of other faiths by attending ceremonies such as Baptisms and funerals sponsored by other religions or by exchanging holiday gifts?