BY Annette Reynolds

What is amity?

Togetherness, concord, goodwill, harmony, cordiality, unity, friendliness, benevolence, understanding, friendship, relationship.

Come join the conversation Dec. 27-29 at the Louis Gregory Baha’i Institute near Hemingway. You don’t have to be or become a Baha’i to attend. Just be interested in community, making friends and healing humanity.

The program focus is designed to advance our collective efforts toward race unity. To register, call 843-558-0948 or email programs@lgbi.org. Do it today!

We are all human, all servants of God and all come from Mr. Adam’s family. Why, then, all these fallacious national and racial distinctions? These boundary lines and artificial barriers have been created by despots and conquerors who sought to attain dominion over mankind, thereby engendering patriotic feeling and rousing selfish devotion to merely local standards of government.

As a rule, they themselves enjoyed luxuries in palaces, surrounded by conditions of ease and affluence, while armies of soldiers, civilians and tillers of the soil fought and died at their command upon the field of battle, shedding their innocent blood for a delusion such as “we are Germans,” “our enemies are French,” etc., when, in reality, all are humankind, all belong to the one family and posterity of Adam, the original father.

This prejudice or limited patriotism is prevalent throughout the world, while man is blind to patriotism in the larger sense, which includes all races and native lands. From every real standpoint there must be peace among all nations.

God has not created men that they should destroy one another. All races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly Father.

The earth is one earth, and the same atmosphere surrounds it. No difference or preference has been made by God for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of prejudice, hatred and discord with his fellowman by considering nationalities separate in importance and races different in rights and privileges.

In order to find truth, we must give up our prejudices, our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path toward unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.

Therefore, it is imperative that we should renounce our own prejudices and superstitions if we earnestly desire to seek truth. Unless we make the distinction in our minds between dogma, superstition and prejudice on the one hand, and truth on the other, we cannot succeed.

When we are in earnest in our search for anything, we look for it everywhere. This principle we must carry out in our search for truth.

Whatever is conducive to unity is merciful and from the divine bounty itself. Every universal affair is divine.

Excerpts from compilation “The Power of Unity — Overcoming Racial divisions, Rebuilding America.”

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Annette Reynolds has served in many capacities as a member of the Bahá’í Faith. She is the author of “Trudy and the Bahá’ís Spiritual Path in S.C.” and “Survivors Thrive: A view of the Battered Women’s Movement.” She is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact her and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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