Interfaith gathering reflects on election

first_imgStudents from different religious groups came together to share prayers of healing for the upcoming presidential election during a nonpartisan event held in the USC Caruso Catholic Center courtyard on Monday evening.The event was sponsored by the USC Interfaith Council and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, The Church of Latter Day Saints Student Association, USC Muslim Student Union, Crusaders for Christ, Secular Student Fellowship, USC Hillel, Hindu Student Organization and the Sikh Student Association each selected a representative to give a prayer. The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s Walter Ruby opened the prayer session. His organization is a New York-based nonprofit that brings together peoples of all faiths, specifically Jews and Muslims. “We are urging students to come together and stand up for each other in the face of bigotry and hatred that has come up in the elections,” Ruby said. “We’re going to be here for each other no matter what happens tomorrow.”Mary Cate Hickman, the president of the USC Interfaith Council and staff writer for the Daily Trojan, said that because USC has the most religious organizations in the nation, she wanted to give everyone the opportunity to express their faith.“I didn’t want it to be an interfaith event with just Christians because that’s so not representative of our campus,” Hickman said. “I was very vigilant in making sure that they were all here.” Hannah Maluyao, from the non-denominational Crusaders for Christ group, prayed there would be honesty in the election process and the right person would become president.“Would you help us to uphold justice, would you stand for those who are oppressed and would you help us to ensure that we treat one another fairly,” Maluyao said in prayer.Some prayers advocated for everyone to overcome hatred and bigotry, not only in the US election, but around the globe. Nimarta Singh and Sehej Singh from the Sikh Student Association translated a prayer into English, which said “when my lord accepted my prayer, the entire world became stress free and full of peace and love.”Mohamed el Farra, representing the Muslim Student Union, chose a prayer that he felt appropriately addressed the decision that America faces today. He recited the prayer in Arabic before translating it into English. “Relent towards us, thou art the relenting and the merciful, and make us grateful for thy blessing and make us praise it while accepting it and give it to us in full,” el Farra said.Toward the middle of the event, those in attendance held a brief moment of silence and lit candles to reflect in their own prayers and thoughts.To bring together people of all walks of life, the Interfaith Council hosted a representative from the Secular Student Fellowship. While Dylan McKeithe, a senior majoring in physics and a secular humanist, did not pray, he gave a brief speech that touched on overall human nature and how it relates to the election.“Humans, though they may strive to be, are not rational beings and we are rationalizing beings,” McKeithe said. “We make emotional decisions and come out with a rationale that supports it afterward.”Paulina Nuñez, a freshman majoring in sociology, attended the prayer because she realized that the correct choice of president can only be made by a united front.“It should be important to everyone to get together and make sure that the person that we chose tomorrow is someone that will bring good not only to our personal life, but everyone in general,” Nuñez said.Each prayer fit into the overall message of healing, forgiving and letting the singular God as well as multiple gods determine the outcome of the election.last_img

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