Leaders from Baha'ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism and Sikhism gathered at Windsor Castle this week to save the planet. Most pressingly:
When people from nine faiths with special dietary requirements visit for a banquet, what should be on the menu? That is the dilemma facing the Royal Family as Windsor Castle hosts an international conference to celebrate different faiths and the environment. (BBC)
One of the starters was: "Frisee leaves tossed with a hazelnut oil and lemon oil dressing served with a red grape reduction". Your basic lowest-common-denominator interfaith nosh.
Of course, no interfaith event is as neutral as it pretends to be (even if an "Anglican bias" is now almost a contradiction in terms):
...the array of faith leaders were surprised by a request to participate in parts of a Christian service... The secretary general of ARC [Alliance of Religions and Conservation - founded by Prince Philip]... reassured the faith leaders that being Anglican did not ask very much of them, they merely had to say the occasional Amen. (Religious Intelligence)
With the delicate problems of the meal and the service out of the way without too much offence caused, on to business. Now, the eternal concerns of Theology are as victim to passing fashion as anything else. Apparently, "Creation Care" is in, while paganophobia is out:
"I think the real problem for Christianity, and to some extent for Judaism and Islam as well, was fear of paganism. They saw respect for nature as being tantamount to worship of nature. And all sorts of deep barrier (sic) to theological traps kind of went bing, bing, bing when the environmental movement came into being."
(Public Radio International)
All in all it sounds like it was great party. Prince Philip was on hand to give the jamboree a bit of class and a watertight rationale:
"The fact that the majority of the world's faiths ascribe the creation of the world to an all-powerful deity, implies that the leaders and followers of each faith have a moral responsibility for the continued well-being of our planet," (ENS)
Etcetera. No parody required.
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