During International Week at MU, an interfaith panel of speakers representing Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam discussed religion and sexuality. The panel discussion and luncheon on March 23 was attended by more than 150 students, faculty, and staff.
Reverend Kaz Nakata, resident minister of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple and a chaplain at George Mason University (GMU), stressed that Buddhism encourages people to think about their actions and take responsibility for them. He added that his faith respects different points of view.
Rabbi Lia Bass, who leads the Congregation Etz Hayim in Arlington, VA, emphasized, “We are all made in the image of God.” Sheikha Farhanahz Ellis, Interfaith and Outreach director for the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and a chaplain at GMU, agreed. She said, “We are all created by God and deserve respect.” Referencing the golden rule of treating others as we wish to be treated, she added, “We may not like what another person is doing, but that is not a reason to discriminate.”
Gerri Laird, founding director of Project Rachel, a healing ministry to those who have been involved in abortion, represented the Catholic faith. She stressed the sanctity of life and marriage and affirmed the inherent dignity of each person and God’s love for all.