Left to Right: Dr. Siraj Akhtar, Craig Dalley, Dr. Martin Karnett, Kent Johnson
Is it realistic to hope for civility and kindness across cultural and political divides? The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation answers with a resounding YES!
Windows to hope were opened at the recent Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) roundtable at American Airlines Headquarters, advancing workplace religious inclusion and allyship. (More about that here.)
The same week, and in the same city, we participated in the DFW Summit for Religious Freedom, where SMU’s President R. Gerald Turner testified of the strong motivation of “Gen X” to do good, and speaker after speaker described real-life breakthroughs across people of varied faiths who value human dignity. We learned about how breakthroughs for religious freedom were forged in Philadelphia when the US Constitution was set down. We heard about rescues from religious oppression; and about people of dominant faiths who, following the teachings of their faith, boldly stood for freedom of others who were unlike them. It wasn’t just words. Real life change and solid hope was displayed. It’s possible.
As RFBF’s representative, I (Kent) was privileged to shine a spotlight on the great work of Texas Instruments (see video below). I’d walked for many years alongside the TI panelists in our shared quest to strengthen civility at our company, in accordance with the teachings of our respective faiths. Getting together again was a kind of “family reunion.” What a pleasure. These dear friends – a Jew, a Muslim, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — are the “real deal.” My friendship with them is a good part of the inspiration behind this evangelical Presbyterian’s calling to promote the healing ministry of “authenticity and connection” in workplaces across the globe. People like them are reaching out in sincere compassion in workplaces everywhere.
RFBF has listed reams of logically compelling reasons to unleash and encourage freedom of faith expression in workplaces. The current growing interest in religious diversity and inclusion in companies across the globe is validated and fueled by solid data and information. Just spreading the word of what’s happening in companies like Texas Instruments adds to the momentum of this movement. But in the end, it’s the visceral person-to-person engagements that truly persuade, and truly heal our broken society. For that, I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with these friends, and thankful for the many other friendships being forged across cultural lines in workplaces everywhere.
Join us, person to person. Let’s heal the world.