The long line snaked past the shoe cubbies and head-covering bins. It terminated well outside the exhibit hall as hundreds of people ate—or waited to eat—lunch. Arriving a bit earlier or a bit later would have made no difference. Everyone wanted to be part of this spiritual practice, and we were no exception. Friendly young adults, dressed in white, moved down the line and cheerfully explained the history of the event. Soon enough, we were seated in a row on the floor. Another row of people sat facing us. One by one, servers brought trays: rice, curried vegetables, water, salad, a cup, utensils, mango lassi. Second and third helpings ensured that no one left hungry.
The Sikh community offered langar, which means “common kitchen,” to all 9,000-plus registrants at last week's Parliament of the World’s Religions.
"I hope the shootings in Oak Creek will lead to interfaith education around the state," says Scott Anderson, director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. "There is a hunger for this kind of engagement."
One of the most recognizable pieces of religious architecture in the world is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the most significant place of worship of the Sikhs. The upper part of this ornate rectangular marble structure is covered in gold. I saw the gleaming temple early in the morning, before sunrise, when it was bathed in soft artificial light.
The departments of Justice and Homeland Security have begun training employees to better understand and protect the civil liberties of American Muslims, Sikhs and other minority ethnic and religious groups in the long aftermath of September 11.
New Jersey has become the second state to allow embryonic stem cell research after its governor signed a law that has drawn criticism from religious and ethical groups that oppose abortion. “It is our obligation as a people and as a state to move the frontiers of science forward,” said Gov. James E. McGreevey when he signed the law January 4.
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