Our Position

Prayer on World Peace and Prayer Day

[Acknowledge the honor of being in the presence of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the founder of World Peace and Prayer Day.]

Let us pray.

CREATOR, eternal source of love, we, your children of many religions, come to you this morning as one spiritual family.

AS we celebrate the summer solstice and light over darkness, we beseech you to hear our prayer when so many of your people are suffering from injustice and violence.

WE ask that terror and violence be overcome by the power of love and the desire for peace,
that prejudice and scapegoating give way to understanding and acceptance,
that injustice succumb to justice, and
that the craving to oppress be transformed into the desire for brotherhood and sisterhood.

WE stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples everywhere and all persons worldwide who want peace, justice and love to prevail on this sacred planet we share.

WE ask that you strengthen our resolve to be vigilant against the evils of hate, oppression and injustice, and grant us the will, and the courage, to confront them.

WE ask, further, that you embolden our political leaders, here and elsewhere, to be morally courageous and justice-serving, and give them the fortitude to protect all targeted communities and the vulnerable among your children.

WAKAN TANKA (Great Spirit), as persons of many faiths but with a single petition, we humbly ask on this “World Peace and Prayer Day” that you renew our hope and … grant us peace.


Bridges of Faith Trialogue/Cincinnati Festival of Faiths
World Peace and Prayer Day sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition and the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans, Fort Ancient, Lebanon OH, June 21, 2019

Our Position

Massacre of Muslims in New Zealand

The news of the horrific massacre of dozens of innocent Muslim worshipers in their mosques in New Zealand was shocking and saddening. One more attack on a faith community, indeed, on all of humanity. One more act of violence motivated by religious bigotry. Still another heinous crime committed by an avowed white supremacist. And yet, this senseless massacre is unique, as they all are, in the profound pain and suffering on the lives affected.

Distance is no matter. We Americans, we Cincinnatians should all grieve with the victims’ families. We should stand in solidarity with the Christchurch Muslim community. Locally, we should extend our support, sympathies and concern to our Muslim friends and neighbors who continue to live in fear for the safety of their families. They are our brothers and sisters.

The Bridges of Faith Trialogue, a civic organization that works to foster interfaith inclusion and unity, and the organizer of the Cincinnati Festival of Faiths, holds to the belief that compassion and justice are central to all religions. Let us put our compassion into action by being alert to the present danger caused by the ideology of white supremacy, an increase our efforts to work together for a just and safe community for all of our neighbors.

Our Position

Mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

Reflecting on the recent tragedy at a synagogue in Pittsburgh

If you are like me at this moment, you are feeling very frustrated, virtually helpless to prevent future tragedies such as what occurred to the innocent worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. My sense-of-urgency meter is maxing out. I have been saying to myself, can’t I do more than just pray for peace? I ask myself, would all of the prayers for universal peace and justice being said all over the world prevent or discourage even one bigoted and deranged individual from his/her death-wish attack on one of our vulnerable populations?

I’m encouraged by the growing coalition of concerned people of good will who are coming together in response to the divisive political rhetoric of intolerance and scapegoating of recent years. Yet I am just as discouraged by the hard evidence of the dramatic rise in domestic terrorism and the spate of hate crimes of late, most of it directed at our African American, Jewish, and Muslim neighbors. These trends contribute to my feelings of despair and ineptitude. Again, this morning I asked myself, what can I–or even we as a community–do to overcome this state of what appears to be a human relations backlash.

Yet, as we have learned from having witnessed similar tragedies over the years, history tells us that once our immediate reactions of horror and grief have subsided, the sun re-emerges to shed light on humanity’s inherent goodness. That goodness is giving comfort and solidarity to victims and giving voice to the community’s overriding desire for inter-group harmony and justice. We are again reassured. Hope is restored.

As for the power of prayer: we need to acknowledge that praying or simply reflecting deeply in the manner of our choosing (whether in solitude or with others in community) has real value. It is impactful. It leads to social progress. For many, the act of praying reminds us that we are not alone in this endeavor to improve or “repair the world,” (or as our Jewish friends say,”tikkun olam”). Prayer inspires many believers to accept their responsibility to do their part in addressing the problems of our society. The opinion of many participants in the recent Cincinnati Festival of Faiths was that being compassionate means we are activists in service to and in defense of our neighbors of all types, including those of a different religious faith.

While prayer may not be the complete answer to solving our social problems, it provides the inspiration for many to take them on. The Bridges of Faith Trialogue, the sponsor of the Festival of Faiths, calls upon greater Cincinnatians and our faith community to come together in addressing the causes and prevention of religious bigotry and hate violence.

Robert C. “Chip” Harrod
Bridges of Faith Trialogue

Our Position

Swastika Incident at Hebrew Union College

Letter to the Editor, The Cincinnati Enquirer

On behalf of Cincinnati’s Bridges of Faith Trialogue, I wish to comment on the recent swastika incident at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The Christian, Jewish and Muslim members of the Trialogue condemn this despicable act of defilement of one of our community’s iconic institutions and all that it stands for. This abhorrent example, coming barely a month after this same offensive symbol defaced the wall of the vandalized apartment of an interracial couple in Price Hill, is troubling evidence of the re-emergence of overt racism and religious bigotry sweeping the country since the Presidential election. Data collected by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center confirm a spike in hate crimes since November 8th.

Cincinnati is a community fortunate to have relatively few hate crimes, even though any is too many. We take pride in our efforts to achieve an inclusive, equitable and just community for all who live and work here. While we are not yet there, we have made progress on many fronts and what we don’t want is for these advancements to be reversed by a backlash from bigots.

We must take these acts of hatred seriously, be vigilant, and stand firm and together against them.

Our Position

An Open Letter from the Heartland to the President Elect

Dear President Elect Trump,

We are a group of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Ohio called Bridges of Faith Trialogue, who have come together for the past 13 years fostering mutual respect and understanding. The Trialogue has grown into a model of interfaith dialogue and collective work for our community. In so doing, we are living the belief that our communities and our country are stronger and greater when people from diverse cultures and traditions work together on common causes.

You have been elected on a message of making America great again. You have also stated you plan to be the President for all Americans and create a country in which we can all be proud and prosperous. America is a nation built by immigrants who have enriched this country with their talent and hard work. As the new leader of the United States, it will be important that you make Americans of all religions, races, genders and cultures feel included in your goal to make America great again.

As President you must lead the effort to be inclusive of all Americans. We urge everyone to put negative rhetoric aside and for you to bring together a leadership team that can help unite Americans and move us forward together. As our new President, you cannot be successful if any segment of our society feels disenfranchised by you or your administration.

We commit as individuals, as a group and as part of many diverse groups to work with you to create a country in which no one feels excluded or becomes a victim of prejudice. Like you, we want an America that is free of racism and bigotry and believe that only by returning to these principles upon which our country that we love was founded will America reach its full potential and stand as a shining model for the rest of the world.

We implore you not to forget Abraham Lincoln’s words from his second Inaugural Address, “With malice towards none, with charity for all… let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.” Thank you.


Bridges of Faith Trialogue

Cincinnati, Ohio

Our Position

Terrorist Incidents in Belgium

Today’s terror attacks in Belgium cause pain and anxiety throughout the world and here at home, yet we need to stay faithful to the values that make America special and unique, and we need to continue to respect and love all with whom we share our beloved community. This is a dangerous political climate for our Muslim neighbors and more than ever we members of the Trialogue, as followers of different faiths, resolve to continue our work to promote fairness, social justice and concern for each other. We ask our friends to do the same. To do otherwise would be totally un-American.

Cincinnati’s Bridges of Faith Trialogue, formed in 2007, is made up of Christian, Jewish and Muslim community leaders.