Tale of Two Miles

The U.S. Capitol Building and The Lincoln Memorial side by side, animated by green and red paint

Nathan Stanton has spent the last 10 years as a pastor, church planter and artist on the West, South and Northsides of Chicago, and is an Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellow

 

Early one morning on October 9th, 2015 my oldest son Andre and I boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C. The purpose: to witness the 20 year anniversary celebration for the Million Man March. In 1995 the Nation of Islam called black men to gather in part to demand justice and better treatment as citizens of this sprawling nation. Although people have disputed the authenticity of the numbers, there is one thing for sure. The event left an impression upon the black community spawning tributes and movies alike.

Fast forward to January 6th 2021, this is the day when the electoral votes are confirmed by the Senate. This is the final procedural step before Joe Biden is schedule to take office after January 20th. Trump supporters showed up in the thousands swarming the streets of D.C causing chaos and bursting though the doors of the Capitol to desecrate the epicenter of the legislative branch. Windows were smashed, offices broken into and property defaced.

As I sat and watched this hastily executed insurrection by makeshift terrorists, I was reminded about the trip I took with my son. We stayed way too far out of town near the BWI airport and had to take a bus and a train to get to D.C. Upon our arrival on the day of the march October 10th 2015, I was greeted by various employees of law enforcement agencies. As we marched for a mile there was a police officer of some kind every 3 feet!! So imagine the shock of seeing people storm into a capitol building after they had been warned of this rally point. Much has been already posted about the different responses according to the skin color of the participants. I will not labor the point but remember there were more cops than I had seen in my life. We stood there on the East side of the Capitol building and heard from many speakers who yelled into the microphone and made demands for justice over and over again. Inspirational it was not to me but filled me with an anger that incensed me for its very presence.

While the March and rally were still happening we left and decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. In pictures they seem to be close but there are over 2 miles apart. As we began the journey my 8-year-old soon languished in pace and I could tell he was not going to make it. So we hailed a pedi-bike outside of a museum and got a slightly breezy ride on a hot October day in the nation’s capitol. What greeted us as we arrived was a very different atmosphere. There was a peace and calm that felt more like a church than a national monument. There were hundreds of people there yet there was a quiet that defied the odds. It was obvious we stood on holy ground among the tourists and children sliding down the marble bannisters.

While the spirit of the Capitol was very confrontational the spirit of the Lincoln Memorial was conciliatory. While the atmosphere of the Capitol felt hazardous the other was healing. I guess those “better angels of our nature” reside there with the statue of our 16th president carved out of marble and the reflecting pool just outside the pillars. Of course this is where the “I have a Dream” speech occurred. It appealed to the unity and common destiny that the Capitol is woefully unable to envision. It is where there has always been and always will be the harsh realities of partisanship and fights that follow disagreement. This administration has thrived upon the chaos that accompanies the spirit of the Capitol. Now let the inspirational adherence to our ideals as a people and nation overtake our ability to disagree and demonize. In two miles Andre and I had travelled from the past and present into a promised future we were blessed to get a glimpse of on one sunny August day in 1963. May this nation yet find the way as well.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

Thirty-two percent of vaccinated Americans reported in June that a faith-based approach made them more likely to get vaccinated, according to the survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).   
As the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. echoed Theodore Parker, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Let’s bend it together.
In both my work as an interfaith leader and a dancer, rethinking is all about opening our minds, asking questions, and having conversations.
Some U.S. churches have been reckoning with this activity for years through ceremonies, apologies and archival investigations, while others are just getting started.
A global study of the communication patterns of 1.3 million workers during the global lockdown showed the average workday increased by 8.2% during the pandemic, and the average number of virtual meetings per person expanded by almost 13%.
Across Missouri, hundreds of pastors, priests and other church leaders are reaching out to urge vaccinations in a state under siege from the delta variant. Health experts say the spread is due largely to low vaccination rates — Missouri lags about 10 percentage points behind the national average for people who have initiated shots.
The solution, said Chris Palusky, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, is “the loving care of a family, not another orphanage.” He pointed to Scripture passages that say God sets the lonely in families and call on Christians to care for those who have been orphaned.
The following interview features Debra Fraser-Howze, founder and president of Choose Healthy Life, an initiative that fortifies community infrastructure to better address the pandemic in Black communities. The interview was conducted by Shauna Morin for IFYC; it has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The seven monks have been clearing brush from around the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and running a sprinkler system dubbed “Dharma rain,” which helps keep a layer of moister around the buildings.
Over 800 Muslim Americans are expected to attend the family-focused event at the Green Meadows Petting Farm in Ijamsville, Maryland, making it one of the larger such gatherings around the country in the era of COVID-19.
Besides demanding equitable distribution of vaccines, the Interfaith Vigil for Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access called on the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property rights for vaccine manufacturing in order to enable more countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines domestically.
Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is typically marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings, slaughtering of livestock and giving meat to the needy.
Our Lady of La Vang is said to have appeared in a remote rainforest in the late 1700s to a group of Catholics fleeing persecution in Vietnam.
This article is part of a series called Faith in the Field that explores responses to Covid-19—including vaccination efforts—within different faith communities. 
Yet the debate about the vaccine in Tennessee is not solely a debate about science. Rather, I believe the vaccine debate is also a referendum on our public capacity to embrace vulnerability.
The study found that while there are many promising signs that students perceive support for their RSSIs on campus, there is also considerable room for improving welcome, particularly for students whose RSSIs are a minority.
Coronavirus deaths among clergy are not just a Catholic problem, said Andrew Chesnut, chair of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, with faith leaders across denominations having elevated exposure rates as “spiritual front-line workers” ministering to the sick and dying in hospitals and nursing homes.
Legislation legalizing human composting has encountered religious resistance from the Catholic Church.
From the 26th of November, 2020, a farmers protest has been in existence on the outskirts of Delhi, India’s capital city. For the past eight months, farmers in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, have been fighting three laws that threaten the future of agriculture in the country.
Sivan and I feel that it is crucial to work for increased vaccination rates, particularly with more transmissible and potentially more deadly variants emerging across the country and throughout the world.
We made calls to friends, disseminated flyers, engaged in social media marketing, partnered with faith-based communities, and engaged the local health department to encourage members of our community to come to our upcoming clinic and get vaccinated.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.