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Love conquers all — even candidates with swoopy hair who call people names.

This letter from 7,000 faith leaders to Muslim Americans will burst your heart with joy.

Love conquers all — even candidates with swoopy hair who call people names.

Donald Trump called for an end to all Muslim immigration into the United States and it was pretty scary.

That’s old news by now. But the cool part you might not have heard about? As a response, a group of faith leaders from lots of different religions united in support of Muslims.

On Dec. 9, 2015, those faith leaders published an open letter to the American Muslim community pledging solidarity, love, and support to Muslims "with our voices, our actions, and our bodies."


The organizers of the letter included folks from many different religious groups: Sister Simone Campbell, leader of “Nuns on the Bus”; Rabbi Sharon Brous; Reverends Otis Moss and Dr. Jacqui Lewis; Bishop Gene Robinson; and Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

Photo via Auburn Seminary, used with permission.

The letter’s authors represent an astonishingly diverse mix of religions that don’t usually come together—Sikhism, Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, and Protestantism, among others.

While different in their faiths, the authors (who are all fellows at the Auburn Theological Seminary) are dedicated to bridging divides and building communities among people of all cultures and beliefs. After hearing Trump’s drastic and discriminatory measures, these 15 senior fellows at Auburn banded together to take action through their vast faith network.

“We knew we had to do something about it,” says Reverend Jacqui Lewis, an Auburn fellow and an author of the letter. “When there is violence and vitriol and hatred, when people on the edges are being persecuted, when people on the margins are ostracized, I always get engaged.”

Reverend Jacqui Lewis delivering the letter on her show "Just Faith." Photo via Middle Church, used with permission.

In the first few hours, the letter immediately garnered over 4,000 signatures supporting Muslims. Today, over 25,000 people have signed it.

7,000 of those people are faith leaders. The list ranges from Quakers to atheists, notes Michelle Reyf, director for Groundswell at Auburn and one of the main campaigners behind the letter.

The goal of the letter, she adds, was not only to call for people “to be transformed by a moment of compassion” but also to take action in the outside world.

To make sure their words didn’t fall on deaf ears, these faith leaders took their letter offline with handmade deliveries to Muslim communities around the country.

Beginning Dec. 11, in coordination with local imams and Muslim leaders, Auburn’s senior fellows organized national deliveries of their letter in person to mosques, Muslim community centers, and Muslim Community Network offices. In addition, all 25,000 signers of the letter were invited to deliver the letter to neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

Rabbi Sharon Brous, an Auburn fellow and one of the authors, delivered her letter to the leaders of LA’s Muslim community on Dec. 13. She stood with the mayor of Los Angeles, the mayor of San Bernardino, and the heads of LA’s Sunni and Shiite communities (the first time the two leaders have stood together publicly) and gave a rousing speech on the dangers of Islamophobia and religious persecution.

“We’re here today because it’s no longer enough to say ‘I’m uncomfortable with the rising tide of violence and the rising tide of hatred,’” Brous proclaimed. “We are here today because we know we must actively cast our lot on the side of love.”

Photo via Los Angeles County, Jon Endow, used with permission.

Another batch of the deliveries took place in New York City on Christmas Eve, the same day as the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday.

Reverend Lewis, who participated in the delivery of the letter that day to the Muslim Community Network offices, described the experience as profoundly moving. “A rabbi putting this letter in the hands of a Muslim leader surrounded by clergy and laypeople was the most amazing way to have Christmas,” she says.

Deliveries have now taken place nationally in California, Colorado, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and of course, New York.

Stories like these are important because they serve as a reminder that love is one of the best ways to combat hate.

As message of divisiveness continue to dominate the headlines, I find the story of these faith leaders reassuring. Their unity and peaceful teamwork didn’t make front page news in most places, but it had a major impact on the ground for people all around the country.

If such a distinct group of religious leaders can find common ground together, the rest of us really don’t have much of an excuse.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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