I learned acceptance early in life as my household was a little odd

My father was German Jewish…my mother Irish Catholic…

which meant they prayed to different gods.


I was exposed to both religions and the more and more I grew

when I was asked…I never knew…if I was a Catholic…or a Jew?


Whenever someone sneezed next to me…I didn’t know what to do!

Should I say Gesundheit…or Shalom…or go with God bless you?


But being raised with this disparity was one of the beauties of my growth

for having two religions meant that I accepted both.


And when I went out into the world it made it easier to be

more accepting of all the other people who did not think like me.


I made friends with people whose Gods had different names, 

different clothing, different hues…

whose Gods did not resemble at all the two Gods that I knew.


But having grown up with two Gods I found it easy to get along

for whose to say my Gods are right and all their Gods are wrong.


And though it’s made acceptance easier 

as I’m able to see how each God pleases…

It has left me now more confused than ever…

when anybody sneezes.  

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Lately, I’ve been dubious of religions…the way they’re painted on the news.

We see only the radical ones…with their racist and hateful views…


So in order to learn a little more…and help my religious knowledge increase…

I joined a crowd of diverse faiths as we took a walk for peace.


The idea: 

To try and understand one another…to begin a dialogue…

as we marched from church to church…from mosque to synagogue.


I spoke with people of many faiths. I can't remember all their names, 

but, no matter who I spoke with, the message was the same…


It was a message of love and understanding spread out for all to see

a message of hope and friendship…of togetherness and unity.


None of these people were hateful, instead, they shared complementary views

These were not the people…I have seen painted on the news.


As we walked together in fellowship…in love and harmony

I had to stop a moment as this thought occurred to me…


What if every religion is painting the same picture but from a slightly different view…

Using different perspectives, different palates, different brush strokes…different hues.


Any religion painted with love, meant to nourish the soul and heart…

though slightly different from the others…is itself a work of art.


And those religions painted with hate…have no place upon our wall

For by color and definition…they are not religions after all.


Religions, true religions, paint one message: to help love in our world increase…


And religions, true religions walk together and dream of peace.

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