"Respecting the Sacred" Tolerance celebration - Lorca Smetana

This afternoon in front of the Bozeman Public Library gathered members and leaders from Bozeman’s Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, humanist, human rights advocation and other communities. In response to the threatened burning of Qurans and the rise in feelings against American Muslim communities, leaders spoke in turn both in English and their own languages. Music and singing, cheers and laughing and learning and children running in the sun. At the end a flock of white doves flew.

I held one white dove, and said, “I have been raising a flock of a white strain of homing pigeons in a loft over on the Gallatin River. The homing pigeon and human beings have 5000 years of history together, and until a little over 100 years ago, the homing pigeon served with bravery and remarkable reliability in all of the world’s major powers as the best and fastest messengers there were. The white dove is sacred in all of this planet’s great religions, symbol of peace, hope, and love. The wisdom keepers of these religions teach that hatred will destroy its keeper. We then each choose, to keep it or to let it go…” I let my single dove lift into the sky and behind me the leader of Bozeman’s Muslim community, Dr. Ruhul Amin released the escort flock to fly out across the audience and up, away, and home.

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