The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 2
U. N. World Urban Forum (WUF3) 2006 Vancouver
Potential Rezoning in Interfaith Community Centers? Thanks, U.N.!
[OPTIMUM READING CONDITIONS: at night when it's dark out, in a darkened room...]
a suggestion from the Spirituality Roundtable at the third international session of the United Nations World Urban Forum (WUF3) in 2006 in Vancouver – a product of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (also known as UN-HABITAT).
…There is so much happening on the Global Interfaith front, you cannot cover it all. It is impossible. I have one logo in the center, it’s from the World Urban Forum, 2006. The United Nations meeting in Vancouver. I attended it not thinking that there would be anything revolving around religion. However, we had a three hour session on spirituality and cities. So I had to, I had to sit in on that one. And during that time period, it was suggested by different mayors, councilmen, politicians, and religious leaders that cities need to re-zone their downtown core districts. Zone out exclusive fundamentalist churches, and zone in Interfaith community centers. And this was the suggestion and everybody in the room said “Hurrah.” Wonderful idea… Because that’s the Global Faith. That’s what we have to do. We all have to come together underneath one roof.
TIME FOR A SIDEBAR: to set the proper mood…
Imagine that the obnoxious youngster marinated-in-greenspeak since birth, Severn Suzuki [please click here and watch], grew up less whiny but still just as U.N.-ified as ever… well, we don’t have to imagine it… we can watch it… please keep her grown-up face in mind as we now return to our imagination for real this time:
Severn has attended several UN conferences since her big moment of fame in 1992… Let’s imagine for the duration of this blog post that she is attending the June 2006 World Urban Forum in Vancouver… Her main sphere of interest is Climate Change, of course, but being the open-minded greenist that she fancies herself: she decided to sit in on the Spirituality Roundtable…
Now would be a good time to set the atmosphere by focusing a bit on this photo and playing this song for accompaniment while reading the remainder of this post… (and pretty please disregard temporarily that the song is most likely lionizing terrorist Ulrike Meinhof )
Severn listens intently to the Roundtable goings-on and becomes inspired! YES! That’s exactly what our big cities need! We need to zone out those FUNDIE churches (Severn adorably scrunches up her nose at the very thought of the very word “Fundie”) and zone in INTERFAITH Centers! (the word “Interfaith” makes her feel all cozy and noble-like)
Severn can’t sit still or even wait for the entire Roundtable to end… She’s off into the rainy glittery streets of Vancouver dreaming her Interfaith Dreams and scuttling along trying to find Fundie churches to laugh at and imagine them disappearing…
Okay, enough of that… for now…
p.s.: Severn is the daughter of Global Warming extremist David Suzuki. David is yet another user of the phrase “Climate Change Denier“… he wrote an entire post about them here…
Then there’s this Newsbusters post from two years ago:
Should it be against the law to disagree with an as yet unproven scientific theory?
A Canadian scientist and high-profile television personality thinks so, and has called for the jailing of political leaders that ignore the junk science behind the anthropogenic global warming myth.
It appears the witch hunt has moved from calling non-believers “deniers” to the burning phase, which is comically ironic if you think about it long enough.
While you search for the not so subtle pun, Canada’s National Post reported Thursday [...]:
David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.
At a Montreal conference last Thursday, the prominent scientist, broadcaster and Order of Canada recipient exhorted a packed house of 600 to hold politicians legally accountable for what he called an intergenerational crime. Though a spokesman said yesterday the call for imprisonment was not meant to be taken literally, Dr. Suzuki reportedly made similar remarks in an address at the University of Toronto last month. [...]
Toward the end of his speech, Dr. Suzuki said that “we can no longer tolerate what’s going on in Ottawa and Edmonton” and then encouraged attendees to hold politicians to a greater green standard.
“What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act,” said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
The following is part of an article by Carl Teichrib called “There’s More to a City”:
Going beyond international political games and economic arm wrestling, the World Urban Forum literally searched for the “soul of the city.”
On Wednesday afternoon, religious thinkers convened the “Spirituality Roundtable.” Consisting of approximately 30 spiritual leaders facing each other in a square grouping of tables, with a much larger audience seated around this inner core, the event’s theme was “Bridging the Gap: Spirituality and Sustainability in the Urban Context.”
Opening this Roundtable was a “First Nations Welcome and Prayer.” Then after panellist introductions, Dr. Michael Hryniuk gave a brief meditation on “vision.”
“At the outset we would like to honour all spiritual traditions here and their insight that one of the great ways to make contact with that source of vision within us, between us, and among us is to enter into silence – into a silence that unites, and it allows our minds to settle into our hearts and into our spirits so that we can access the deeper intelligence, a deeper sense of imagination, a deeper sense of vision.”
Three minutes of silence followed this meditation, which Hryniuk broke with the sound of a small bell. Hryniuk, one of the Christian representatives, came to the WUF3 from the Vancouver School of Theology. Paradoxically, the Vancouver School of Theology’s Vision and Values statement first affirms the calling to be a “faithful and discerning disciples of Jesus Christ,” then proclaims “ecumenical action and interfaith engagement” as a specific faith value. And “interfaith engagement” was a fitting description of the WUF3 Spirituality Roundtable, where no religion was right or wrong, and where truth followed whatever breeze was blowing.
Some of the spiritual and environmental leaders who participated included,
- Yoland Trevino, Global Council Chair, United Religions Initiative (USA).
- Francesc Rovira, Executive Director, Interfaith Centre of Barcelona (Spain).
- Mae Chee Sansanee Sthirasuta, Buddhist Spiritual Leader, Co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women (Thailand).
- Pritam Singh Aulakh, President, Federation of Sikh Societies (Canada).
- Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Executive Director, Global Community Initiative and leader of the Vermont endorsement campaign for the Earth Charter (USA).
- Pandit Prameya Chaitanya, Head Priest, Mahalakshmi Hindu Temple (Canada).
- Maureen Jack LaCroix, Executive Director, Earth Revival Society (Canada).
This wasn’t just a feel-good meeting; former and active city politicians were in attendance and offered their insights. In the end the consensus was that cities needed to become spiritual magnets, hubs for inter-religious growth and commitment. Therefore, city planning and zoning regulations would need to incorporate interfaith realities, and urban festivals would likewise have to reflect a universalistic philosophy.
For UN-HABITAT, the United Nations specialized agency that was hosting WUF3, the Spirituality Roundtable was a milestone. According to organizers this was the first time that spirituality and the UN-HABITAT agenda were linked in such a solid manner, offering a working prototype for deeper collaboration.
“Spirituality” was weaved throughout the World Urban Forum. An interfaith prayer room was set aside, devoid of religious symbolism to keep from offending any particular belief system. And during the official cultural arm of the WUF3, the “World Urban Festival,” a 14 foot-high demon effigy was burned to celebrate the summer solstice, followed by a late night solstice dance. More subtly, Earth Charter brochures and other Earth-centred paraphernalia could be picked up at the UNESCO exhibit and other booths scattered throughout the conference site.
Taken as a whole the message was unmistakable: global change requires more than just political and economic restructuring – it requires a complete reshaping of values and beliefs, a spiritual shift that blends the gods and embraces Earth paganism.
Go to page 10 here [pdf] for a good photo of the layout of the room and participants…
a tiny bit of info [pdf] on the Interfaith prayer room:
Interfaith Prayer Room
The Prayer Room, located just off the escalators on the Meeting Room level of the VCEC, provides a respite and place of solitude. Open from 06:00 – 22:00 daily, the Prayer Room is designed to accommodate all faiths, and with this in mind, the room does not contain religious symbols.
SIDEBAR TIME: to focus on the burning demon effigy…
here’s a snippet from an article in The Globe and Mail about the “World Urban Festival”:
‘Tell your kids you were there,” reads an advertisement for Earth: The World Urban Festival 2006.
The outdoor festival is the official UNESCO-designated arts and culture portion of the Third Session of the UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum (WUF3), which has drawn thousands of international delegates to Vancouver this week. Running until tomorrow night, the festival is supposed to echo the creative chaos that spilled from the freewheeling Habitat Forum held on Jericho Beach in 1976.
At 10 p.m., Vancouver’s Public Dreams Society lit fire to a 14-foot-high demon effigy in the parking lot. The burning spectacle, based on the Bali Randga tradition, received polite applause from spectators. Ten minutes later, the crowd started streaming out, many complaining about the blowing cinders.
“Excuse me,” a befuddled tourist asked. “Where is everyone going?”
Home. To capture all the so-called excitement in a journal for their grandkids? Maybe not.
a few more article snippets:
June 21 * 10: 00 pm Free
Vancouver’s renowned Public Dreams Society, the people behind Illuminares and Parade of the Lost Souls, will launch the festival with the burning of a demon structure. Based on the Bali Randga tradition, a 14ft high effigy will be burned to celebrate the solstice.
Earth: The World Urban Festival’s official opening is this evening at 6:30 p.m., with an official welcome by Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation. The festival site opens at 3 p.m.
Burning Devil: At 10 p.m., the Public Dreams Society, organizers of the annual Illuminares Lantern Festival at Trout Lake and the Parade of Lost Souls, will mark the summer solstice by burning a four-metre demon structure.
Solstice Dance: In the shabono in the Black Box Theatre, the Women of the World Urban Forum will hold a solstice dance at 10 p.m. to music played by west coast DJs. Tickets are $10.
Rangda is the demon queen of the leyaks in Bali, according to traditional Balinese mythology. Terrifying to behold, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches against the leader of the forces of good – Barong.
check out the above link for some photos
Rangda is important in Balinese culture, and performances depicting her struggles with Barong or with Airlangga in that tale are popular tourist attractions as well as tradition. She is depicted as a mostly nude old woman, with long and unkempt hair, pendulous breasts, and claws. Her face is traditionally a horrifying fanged and goggle-eyed mask, with a long, protruding tongue.
Rangda’s awesome representation in a Barong dance
Bali is a Hindu island, and it is suggested that Rangda may also be closely associated with Durga. She has also been identified with the Hindu mother warrior goddess, and Kali, the black mother goddess of destruction, transformation and protection in Hinduism.
a little more info on the “Solstice dance”:
get down to earth
Wed June 21, 2006
10pm until late (approx. 2am)
Lady Ra (Beats Without Borders)
Luna (Ekstasis Dance)
Phoenix Olivia (Soldiers of the Underground)
Kriyatrix (New Myth)
and a special solstice ritual by Luna of Ekstasis Dance
/END OF SIDEBAR…
Here’s something about the moderator of the Spirituality Roundtable, Angela Hryniuk:
For nearly 20 years Angela has been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and for the last 13 years a teacher of meditation and Buddhism philosophy. She has studied with the highest Masters of her lineage, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She has sat many individual and group retreats ranging from a single day to a month, and she continues her daily practice. She received Higher Buddhist Vows, 2000, took initial Bodhisattva vows, 1990. She organized and hosted the Dalai Lama’s Vancouver visit in 2004 and hosted a United Nations sponsored Spirituality Round Table in 2006.
the following “Points of Action” were taken from page 9 of issue 1, Volume 1 of Carl Teichrib’s “Forcing Change” [pdf]
Points of Action:
Learning from the World Urban Forum
If you are a city planner – watch for “interfaith zoning” suggestions, and tactfully raise questions as to the legal and ethical validity of such an act, a move that potentially pits city regulations against Christian congregations.
If you are a city politician – educate yourself as to the legal and practical problems of interfaith zoning, drawing attention to theconflict this may cause with Christian churches. Furthermore, consider the fact that exclusive interfaith zoning could raise liability issues, human rights complaints, and serious questions of freedom of association. Make your voice heard in opposition to interfaith zoning, both overtly and in discrete ways. Inform your constituents, including other community and business members, and church leaders. [...]
If you are a church leader – Be aware of the growing challenge of interfaithism within your community and congregation. Monitor city planning and discussions, and be prepared to tactfully raise concerns with city officials and politicians when and where needed. Inform your congregation so that they too may be discerning and proactive. Carefully monitor city-sponsored festivals and events, with an eye on the spiritual/political motivations that may be underlying.
If you are a layperson – Regardless of what walk of life you travel, become informed of the issues. Monitor your community’s political atmosphere and raise your voice in a way that demonstrates respect, authority, and knowledge. Inform your pastor, business associates, friends/family members, and others of influence regarding the problem areas of globalizing cities.
Now please watch this video as we pretend that Severn got bored from removing Fundamentalist churches in her mind and decided to head on over to the World Urban Festival for some good old-fashioned pagan effigy-burning summer-solstice-celebrating fun… She did not see the demonic creatures manifesting out of the ceremony as she eventually left to head elsewhere… ACK! It was too late… the creatures were on her tail, chasing her through the streets, until you finish up this blog post… so HURRY UP AND GET TO READING!!
Just for the record, here’s the nice palatable “fuzzy bunny slippers” version of the Roundtable summary directly from the United Nations:
Bridging the Gap: Spirituality and Sustainability in the Urban Context
Organized in cooperation with the InterSpiritual Centre of Vancouver Society
The round-table discussions were chaired by Ms. Angela Hryniuk, Executive Director, Interspiritual Centre of Vancouver Society, Canada and moderated by Ms. Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Executive Director, Global Community Initiatives, Montpelier, United States of America.
The 30-member panel explored the role of spirituality in urban sustainability. Ms. Barbara Charlie, Mackmacklaut, Elder, Squamish Nation, opened proceedings with an opening prayer in which she said that no matter what nations people came from, they were all one. The Chair spoke about the efforts made to include spirituality in the programme of the Third Session of the World Urban Forum.
A three-minute period of meditation was held.
Presentations were made on various aspects of the topic by Mr. Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá; Dr. Samuel Luboga, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Makerere University, Kampala; Mr. Surinder Kumar, General Manager, Management Services Group, Sahara India Pariwar, India; Ms. Mae‑Chee Sunsanee Sthirasuta, Buddhist nun and spiritual leader, Thailand; and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Chief Executive Officer, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, Seattle, United States of America, and International Coordinator, Four Worlds International.
It was stressed that a good city was one that promoted human happiness, and that the ultimate goal of human beings was achieving happiness. Participants expressed delight that spirituality was being discussed at a forum organized by the United Nations. They observed that too much money was being spent on armaments, particularly by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. They further noted that important changes did not have to do with money, but with how people could change their ways of life. They stressed the importance of the soul. In addition, they observed that all great religions taught how to make people happy and that happiness had to do with the development of human potential: a bird was happier when set free than when in a cage.
It was emphasized that human beings could dream, create a vision and achieve it. In that context, participants called for the use of the built environment to support human happiness. Vision extended beyond technical rationality and political agenda to include the landscape of the spirit.
It was pointed out that millions of people were migrating to cities in order to escape rural poverty. Unfortunately, many of them were often trapped by the rapid urbanization of poverty. Noting that spiritual development was a basic need of human beings regardless of any religious practice, participants called for the inclusion of spirituality in all UN-Habitat conferences. In that connection, it was observed that the round table was itself a significant development.
The round table closed with mantra chanting and songs accompanied by First Nations drums.
here’s a little blurb about the Roundtable from something called the World Urban Forum Bulletin:
SPIRITUALITY ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable was convened on Wednesday under the theme “Bridging the Gap: Spirituality and Sustainability in the Urban Context.” One participant noted that the source of vision driving WUF3 extends beyond technical rationality and political agendas, and another suggested that solving urban problems involves not only financial resources but also lifestyle change.
Participants discussed how faith-based initiatives can address sustainability, finding contentment and connection to other human beings; the need for global peace in creating sustainability; and the role of urban spaces in hosting spiritual festivals. Delegates described a vision of urban wellbeing that is informed by a spiritual understanding of human community and remarked that spiritual needs are as legitimate as material ones. It was emphasized that civic leaders should systematically consider how the meaning, purpose and connectedness that drive spiritual growth are being met in the community.
here’s another blurb from a different page of the same website:
SPIRITUALITY ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable was convened under the theme “Bridging the Gap: Spirituality and Sustainability in the Urban Context.” Following a First Nations welcome and prayer, Chair Angela Hryniuk, Executive Director, Interspiritual Center of Vancouver Society, offered introductory remarks and urged participants to “walk the spiritual path with practical shoes” with regard to sustainability.
Michael Hryniuk, Vancouver School of Theology, remarked that the source of vision driving WUF3 extends beyond technical rationality and political agendas. Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, stated that solving urban problems involves not only financial resources but also changing our way of life. He underscored that citizen happiness is the true measure of whether cities are succeeding.
Drawing attention to promiscuity and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kampala, Uganda, Sam Luboga, Makerere University, discussed how faith-based initiatives can address sustainability, inclusion and social cohesion in urban areas. Moderator Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Executive Director, Global Community Initiatives, raised the question of whether relocating people’s needs outside the material realm might improve our cities and societies.
Discussion focused on: finding contentment and connection to other human beings; the types of examples set for young people; the need for global peace in creating sustainability; the “spiritual shock” of not being able to spend time in nature; and the role of urban spaces in hosting spiritual festivals, allowing reflection and rekindling a sense of awe. Delegates also called for cooperation among people identifying with spirituality at large, organized faith traditions, and humanist perspectives.
Surinder Kumar, General Manager, Management Services Group, Sahara India Pariwar, India, discussed how sustainability projects can integrate spiritual directives. Before highlighting the importance of happiness and which aspects of human nature may hinder sustainability, Mae-Chee Sunsanee Sthirasuta, Buddhist nun and spiritual leader, invited the roundtable participants to stand in a large circle and share back massages with one another.
Closing remarks by Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., CEO, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, described a vision of urban wellbeing that is informed by a spiritual understanding of human community. Moderator Hallsmith remarked that spiritual needs are real needs. She emphasized that civic leaders should systematically consider how the meaning, purpose and connectedness that drive spiritual growth are being met in the community. Chair Hryniuk called for a formal recommendation to include spirituality on the agenda at every future UN-HABITAT conference.
Carl Teichrib’s website “Forcing Change”
some official UN photos from the Spirituality Roundtable
Severn Cullis-Suzuki uses the same booking agency as Bernardine “Dig It!” Dohrn!
well will you look at that! Severn Cullis-Suzuki is on the Earth Charter Commission!
1972 clip of David Suzuki comparing humans to maggots
WEARECHANGE Ottawa Confronts Severn Suzuki and Trudeau about the Man Made Global Warming Hoax
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 1
UN Climate Change Summit (COP15) Copenhagen, December 2009
Church bells ringing out warning on climate change! pagan “Christian” church service complete with altar full of corn, coral, and rocks… Eco-fraud Rachel Carson and DDT, lots of Interfaithism, New Age, and Paganism
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 2
United Nations World Urban Forum (WUF3) 2006 Vancouver
UN participants wanting to Rezone-Out Churches and Rezone-in Interfaith Community Centers? Thanks, U.N.! David Suzuki calling us maggots, whiny eco-gal Severn Suzuki, fun with paganism, burning a 14 foot demon effigy, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 3
The Ground Zero Imam and an Interfaith Explosion
The U.N., Glenn Beck, Temple of Understanding, Aspen Institute, reading the Koran in church, and the Ground Zero Imam… Soooo Interfaithy!!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 4
Obama/Hillary and Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship
What’s the deal with Obama’s use of “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”?
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 5
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
The Grand Procession of the Ghouls, Blessing of the bicycles, the creepy Peace Fountain, The Peace Altar, Paul Winter’s Earth Mass and Summer/Winter Solstice concert, Blessing of the Animals, Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, The Temple of Understanding, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, William Irwin Thompson, The Lindisfarne Association, Madeleine L’Engle, Rev. James Parks Morton, United Nations Sunday, and Christa: a crucifix depicting Christ as a woman… and more!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 6
UN Climate Change Summit (COP16) Cancun, Nov/Dec 2010
The Invoking of Ixchel, lots of meditating/Circular Dancing/and Sacred Sunrise Ceremonies, Mayan Mania/drama at Chichen Itza/and a whole bunch of fun with Brahma Kumaris… Mother Earth is the lady of the hour and boy do those Indigenous Peoples sure know how to complain…
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 7
1992 Earth Summit in Rio
Invoking Iemanja the “goddess” of the sea, Shirley MacLaine meditating with the Dalai Lama, John Denver crooning, Shamans threatening Bush Sr. with that Shamany thing they do best, drinking hallucinogenic tea, thanking bananas as they are eaten, Maurice Strong and his wife Hanne and her Wisdom Keepers keeping up a constant drumbeat throughout the proceedings, John Kerry (of Vietnam fame) making a love connection!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 8
Actual Evil Within the United Nations
Lucifer-revering New Age Theosophy/ the UN Meditation Room/ Lucis Publishing Company used to be named the Lucifer Publishing Company? Really??/ Theosophy groups meditating inside the UN Meditation Room according to the changing of the moon/ the Lucis Trust evil prayer The Great Invocation was once published in Reader’s Digest? Really??/ UN’s General Assembly room contains a being called The Avatar of Synthesis? Really??/ UN Catholic chapel and Interfaith chapel.
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 9
Cooperation Circles and the United Religions Initiative
Bishop William Swing and his United Religions Initiative/webs of Interfaith Cooperation Circles/Wiccan Donald Frew and his traditional Wiccan foundation blessing while Bishop William Swing joins in and raises his arms in invocation. Sigh.