The Council on American-Islamic Relations, America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, teamed up with the United Church of Christ to release a video promoting interfaith understanding.
The video was released on Jan. 19, on a website dedicated to “trading places.”
“The video seeks to demonstrate that major religions, while unique and distinct, do share common core values, like love, peace, family and justice,” according to a press release from CAIR.
In the video, clergy members from three different religions swap religious garb and preach in one another’s congregations.
“By having the actors exchange vestments and sacred cloth, we are mindful of the power of walking in another’s shoes for a time. This takes the invitation to be open to the ways of the stranger a little further than just hearing what they have to say. It is an invitation to live in the space of the other for a time; to embody their essence for a time so that you can see, feel, and know more intimately what it is to be ‘in their shoes.’ It is as important to note that they return the vestments to their original owner,” according to the UCC on the Trading Places website.
The video showed some of the audience nodding, and some with tears in their eyes as they listened. After the speeches concluded, some audience members thanked and shook the hands of the visiting clergy.
“At this time of increasing societal conflicts, it is incumbent on faith communities to come together to promote hope and inclusion, rather than fear and division,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
By creating the video, the UCC hopes to address religious bigotry, and to reach out to individuals who do not currently participate in religious services, according to its site. Fear and hatred of that which is different destroys peace in society.
“We believe embracing other religions doesn’t make you less of a Christian. It makes you more of a Christian.”
Rabbi John Linder of Temple Solel in Phoenix, Ariz., and the Unitarian Universalist Association also endorse the project.