Shalom aleikhem. Salaam aleikum. Peace be unto us all, and may we radiate its healing and transformative power out into our world.
I am an out-bi rabbi who serves as the humanist chaplain at American University, and our student community there includes assorted humanists, secularists, and atheists. Thus, I was asked by Vin and the leaders of several like-minded national groups to represent non-theists here tonight, and we deeply appreciate our being included. We, too, extend our aching hearts and helping hands to those who suffer from injuries and trauma, to those who grieve the loss of family, friends, and loved ones, and to all who feel fear in the wake of such hatred and violence. Let us draw together our energies and efforts to help our sisters and brothers in pain.
Let us radiate out our powerful and healing love to displace hate, to help the disturbed & despairing, and, as best we can, to remove from among us violence and the weapons of war. Let us shine forth the beautiful diverse rainbow of our light to dispel darkness. Our shared human origins and experiences connect us all to one another. We humans are all one family, made up of the same constellating stardust, life-sustaining water, gleaming sunshine, and species-defining DNA. As ultra-social beings we continue to evolve our empathy and reason that can empower our hearts and minds to come together in compassion and understanding.
As we learn more about ourselves, our planet, and the cosmos, we grow in our abilities to create our better selves and a better world together. Our diversity is the natural fruitfulness of the tree of life. We come in an ever-blending spectrum of colors and shapes, beliefs and doubts, hopes and fears, attractions to others and expressions of selfhood. Let us celebrate and defend our human diversity and our very lives by reaching out with love toward the neighbors and strangers of our world, seeking to make us all into the family and friends we can be by our nature.
Let us each shine forth into the world our little lights of love and learning and good works to dispel the darkness of hate and ignorance and violence. We can and we must turn as many hearts and minds as possible toward one another in empathy and understanding to allow us to move forward together in action Such are the threads of Humanism –religious and secular, spiritual and scientific—that are our common heritage, and, in times joyous and sorrowful, our sources of insight and inspiration, of health and strength, of peace and justice.
Together let us weave these threads of our common humanity into an expansive and welcoming canopy of pluralism, peace, and progress that can benefit and shelter all current and future generations. May it be so. Let us work together to make it so.