A Plea for Unity

– by Rev. Leland Sewart

The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music, where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.”  ~ Baha’i Faith, Science and Spirituality, page 192


This Tuesday is, at last, the time for California to have its chance to vote in what has been a most unusual and divisive election.  Many Republicans, and Democrats as well, are not satisfied with the Republican choice for President.  Many in both parties seem to be having issues with Hillary Clinton, even though she is about to be the Democratic nominee.  Bernie Sanders was a dark horse candidate who has come from behind and is making a strong showing, but likely without the delegates to win the nomination.

This election needs to bring itself together and come up with a clear choice for our next President.  What appears to be needed in the midst of a divided Republican party, is for Hillary and Bernie to find a way to work together and come out with a unified Democratic Party by cooperating with each other.  To continue to be offering different alternatives and not to find common ground would be to run the risk of losing the election to a candidate who appears to be putting the country and world at risk.

While my purpose here is not to tell you who to vote for, I am making a plea for unity in this election and finding a way to offer strength and clarity as we move forward into the final months till we have our vote in November.   California often is so close to the end of its time to vote that its vote does not make much difference.  This time the completion of the primaries leaves our state in a most crucial position.  So it is most important to vote especially this year and to focus on creating unity in the process.

The Unity-and-Diversity World Council is based upon the central idea of democracy, which is the principle of unity-and-diversity.  In the midst of the many, there is the one.   E pluribus unum.  It is our task of find unity in the midst of a diversity of races, cultures, and religions.  It is our opportunity to be good listeners and to find solutions to what might otherwise seem impossible.  This election gives us a special opportunity to show our capability at creating unity in the midst of a wide diversity of political views, attitudes toward the effectiveness of government, and our basic respect for each other.

I also want to say that we have just had eight years of our first Black president.  Instead of unduly criticizing him and trying to undo his many efforts to solve our nation’s problems, I feel that we should appreciate how effective he has been in many ways.  He has a wonderful wife, and he has not had marital infidelity problems.  He has shown respect for his fellow Americans and has attended to resolving conflicts occurring during his presidency.  He is the first president who has been able to set up a new health care system.  Instead of our trying to do away with everything he has worked for, we would do better to attempt to improve what has been accomplished through these eight years.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!



-by Rev. Leland Stewart

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.  Help someone’s soul to heal.  Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

  • Jelaluddin Rumi, Science and Spirituality, page 183


This is Memorial Day Weekend.  It is a time our country honors its veterans of military service.  It is appropriate that people who have served the United States in this way be honored.

The problem is that we are now in a state of perpetual war.  One warlike action leads to another, and at this point it appears that the process is never ending.  At some time soon we must take a different direction in order to save lives and to discover that there is a better way to live.

I have always felt that I had a mission in life that I must devote myself to fulfilling.  It was and is a mission of nonviolence, of service at a moral and spiritual level.  I could not risk going into the military service and possibly being killed in the process, because then I could not fulfill my sacred mission.

My reasons for not going into the military service were as follows:  I was 4F, which means that I was not physically fit, although at first the recruiters were going to pass me through the tests without reservation; I was 4D, which was because I was studying for the ministry at the time; and I was 1AO, which is a conscientious objector.

Conscientious objectors oppose war and their participation in it.  For me, I had another way of serving my country and the world.  Because I did not yield to going into the military service, I was able to continue with my mission from then until this day.  My mission is moving forward in increasingly important ways, but it is far from being completed.  I trust that it will continue to motivate my life until my dying way, which I hope will be numerous years into the future.  I am blessed to be able to be fulfilling my mission, and it is most of all because of the heightened energy that commitment gives me that provides energy and longevity to my life.

I would like at this time to call on others who have a similar commitment in their lives to begin working together and to devote themselves to ending war and violence at home and around the world.  This is a huge task, but the more people who have this mission, the sooner war will end and the future made more secure.

President Obama has just been in Japan and has pledged to working for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  At the same time, the United States is in the process of updating its nuclear weapons at the cost of billions of dollars.  Would we not be better off to work with the nations of the world to mutually agree to eliminate these weapons altogether?

May peace prevail on earth!