Congresswoman shares International Day of Peace message

In honor of International Day of Peace, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard  sent to following letter to be read during the International Day of Peace Celebration hosted by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai, a Cooperation Circle member of the United Religions Initiative.

We can all share the goal of worldwide peace

Mahalo nui loa to the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai, and the many volunteers and community members who have helped to make today’s International Day of Peace Celebration here on the Garden Isle a reality.

Since 2005, the roundtable has worked to bring together people of different faiths and backgrounds to explore diversity while celebrating the similarities that unite us all.

Over the past 12 years, the roundtable has worked to promote understanding, respect and harmony across different spiritual, religious and cultural groups on Kauai through community service projects, cultural and educational exchange, interfaith and spirituality workshops, and so much more.

Nothing is more important to me, and nothing was more important to our founding fathers, than freedom of religion. Our nation was founded by people fleeing religious persecution, risking everything to find a place to be free to worship as they chose or not to worship at all.

This freedom is enshrined in our constitution, in our Bill of Rights, which every member of Congress takes an oath to protect, and which so many heroes have given their lives to defend. The recognition of each individual’s free will and our commitment to individual freedom is the essence of what it means to be an American.

Whether we’re Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Agnostic, or anything else, each of us shares the same goal for peace in our world, the same desire to keep our loved ones safe from harm, and the same hope for a better future for our children.

As we join hands with people around the world on Peace Day and take on the many challenges that we face, let us bring the light found in the aloha spirit, rather than pouring fuel on the fire of darkness, divisiveness and hatred.

Let us show respect and love for everyone, irrespective of religion, race, gender, or any other external difference. Let us confront hatred with love, bigotry with aloha, fear with truth. Let us truly live aloha in our actions, in our words, and in our hearts.