Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Several Faiths Join Together to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Divers women of faith are joining together to celebrate International Women’s Day. This is “a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities,” according to un.org.

Happening at the Islamic Center of Tennessee, the event is being called “Sorority of Eman (Faith): Deriving Direction, Inspiration and Strength for Today from the Women of Yesterday,” and will be held on March 8, 2018 from 6-8pm. The event will include a panel discussion with women of faith on how one can derive direction, inspiration and strength from their lives. This is the first event in a series called “Daughters of Eve,” which brings women from various faith traditions together to foster mutual respect and understanding through discussion, shared goals, breaking bread and community service.

Panelists for the Women’s Day event include the Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon, Pastor at West End United Methodist Church; Carol Grady Mansour, Member of Baha'is of Middle Tennessee; Sarah Levine, Cantor at West End Synagogue; and Aisha Lbhalla, Founder of The Muslim Women's Council. The event will be emceed by Julie Brinker, Director of Community Relations for the Church of Scientology.

A truly interfaith and interactive experience, the event will also include a demonstration on self-defense, a Henna tattooist, spoken word artists, and the Faith in Action Awards which are being presented to incredible women from each faith tradition who are all working for a better community.

“Sorority of Eman” is being organized by the Muslim Women’s Council, an organization which brings cultural awareness of Islam and Muslims to the public by providing accurate information on Islamic practices and beliefs with a purpose to correct misunderstandings and stereotypes particularly those about Muslim women. MWC addresses some of the education, social and personal development needs of women as well as engages in interfaith cooperation, cultural competency training and collaborates with those outside of the Muslim community in order to make a healthy, vibrant, inclusive community for all.

The event takes place Thursday, March 8, 2018, from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the Islamic Center of Tennessee in Antioch. For more information, visit the event Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/388007201661100/.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Nashville Church of Scientology Holds World Interfaith Harmony Breakfast and Dialogue

The Church of Scientology in Nashville opened its doors to all religious communities for a special interfaith breakfast and dialogue in observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Last July, the USA Today had an article on The State of Hate in America. It covers a wide variety of hate incidents dividing Americans in a land that was long ago intended to be “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Included was an incident where two men on a Portland train were stabbed to death trying to stop a white supremacist's anti-Muslim tirade against two teenagers.

“In order to truly combat religious discrimination in this day and age, we have to come together and learn about the religious other,” says Rev. Brian Fesler, Pastor of the Church of Scientology, who called together people of many different faiths and cultures to take part in an innovative and unique interfaith dialogue on February 1st to open World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Participants included members of the Sikh, Baha’i, and Humanist traditions, as well as Scientologists.  

In proclaiming Interfaith Harmony Week in October 2010, the United Nations stressed that "mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace."  It was hoped that religions would work together "to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith" because "the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding."

The Church of Scientology’s creed begins with the words: “We of the Church believe that all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights; that all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance…”   

“It is part of our very fabric to support others’ rights and abilities to practice their religion in peace, so that is what we are lifting up through this dialogue,” says Rev. Fesler.

One participant described the dialogue like this, “World Interfaith Harmony Week was kicked off in Nashville with a breakfast where we were challenged to explain some of the basic tenets of our faith in just a few minutes to someone who would then explain it to the group. It was a lot of fun, and a big thumbs up to the organizers.”


For more information about the Church of Scientology or its activities, visit scientology-ccnashville.org. 

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Holds Conversation on Racism

Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Nashville (CCHR Nashville) held a special breakfast meeting at the end of January.

The Nashville Chapter of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR Nashville) held a special breakfast meeting in late January to confront a serious topic: racism in pop culture and advertising.

CCHR is known as an advocate for human rights, especially as relates to patients’ rights in the field of mental health. Per the international CCHR website, cchr.org, “CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.”

During this conversation on modern racism, attendees dove into a heated and passionate topic and looked at the roots of racism and how it came to be in this society.

 “CCHR is committed to helping people learn their rights, and this includes diving into the sordid history of racism. The only way to overcome racism is by knowing the truth,” says CCHR Nashville Board Member, Brian Fesler. “Racism is not natural. It is learned and we need to know from who.”

CCHR Nashville regularly hosts events and meetings with local leaders who give insight into patients’ rights, parents’ rights and more.


CCHR is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog. Its mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. CCHR receives reports about abuses in the field of mental health and is especially interested in situations where persons experienced abuse or damage due to a false diagnosis or unwanted and harmful psychiatric treatments, such as psychiatric drugs, electroshock (ECT) and electronic or magnetic brain stimulation (TMS). CCHR is often able to assist with filing complaints, and can work with a person’s attorney to further investigate the case. To contact CCHR Nashville for more information, visit cchrnashville.org.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Nashville Church of Scientology Welcomes Community to an Open House Event on World Civil Defense Day

The Nashville Church of Scientology is observing World Civil Defense Day on March 1st with a church safety seminar.

The Nashville Church of Scientology plans to recognize the United Nations World Civil Defense Day by hosting a workshop open to the community with experts on church safety.

World Civil Defense Day was created by decision of the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) General Assembly in 1990, and is celebrated every year on the 1st of March. According to ICDO, “This Day… has two main purposes: that of bringing to the attention of the world public the vital importance of Civil Protection and of raising awareness of the preparedness for, and prevention and self-protection measures in the event of accidents or disasters; and that of paying tribute to the efforts, sacrifices and accomplishments of all the national services responsible for the fight against disasters.”

Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology, explained how the Church of Scientology becomes involved during times of disaster. “We have a program called Volunteer Ministers. Anyone of any culture or creed may train as a Volunteer Minister and use these tools to help their families and communities, and all are welcome to do so,” he said. Fesler encouraged people to look at the website volunteerministers.org which contains resources one would need to become trained in this technology.  

Equipped with effective technology to resolve virtually any difficulty, Volunteer Ministers live by the motto: “No matter the problem, something can be done about it.” Transcending all ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries, the Volunteer Ministers program is there for anyone in need of help.

In creating the Volunteer Ministers program, L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

World Civil Defense Day is March 1st, and the Open House event takes place at the Church of Scientology. To find out more, visit scientology-ccnashville.org.


Tennessee United for Human Rights to Participate at Nashville MLK Day Event

Tennessee United for Human Rights (TnUHR) has the mission to bring awareness and education on the 30 human rights, as listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to people all across the state.

2017 MLK Day Celebration
“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. [The day] empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community,” according to NationalService.gov. It is with this in mind that Tennessee United for Human Rights (TnUHR) is joining in the movement in Nashville to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

TnUHR, which was formed as a non-profit public benefit corporation in 2015 to educate Tennesseans on the basic principles and foundations of human rights, will be participating in events in Nashville to honor the iconic human rights hero. The main event is the MLK Day march and convocation which takes place at Tennessee State University on Jan 15th. The march begins at 10am from Jefferson Street Baptist Church. According to MLKDayNashville.com, the theme for 2018 is “Investing in Our Children, Investing in Our Future.”

One TnUHR volunteer says the organization is excited about being part of these events and is anxious to spread education on human rights, “This is the time for everyone to learn their basic human rights and be united in the fight for freedom.”

TnUHR is the local chapter of United for Human Rights, an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to implementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its membership is comprised of individuals, educators and groups throughout the world who are actively forwarding the knowledge and protection of human rights by and for all Mankind, according to humanrights.com.

United for Human Rights was founded on the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, in the face of continued worldwide abuses which violate the spirit, intent and Articles of this charter of all human rights, the first such document ever ratified by the community of nations. For more information about United for Human Rights, go to www.humanrights.com.


Over Ten Faith Communities Unite for Nashville’s Multi-Faith Citywide MLK Service

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, more than ten faith leaders, communities and congregations are coming together for celebration in a joint service on Sunday, January 14, from 3-6pm.

It is not uncommon for pastors to work together. It is uncommon for various denominations to celebrate a service together.

Over ten Nashville congregations are planning on celebrating a worship service together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.  It is the annual MLK Day celebration service taking place at the Church of Scientology on Sunday, Jan 14th and Rev. Brian Fesler feels this is a historic way to help make Dr. King’s dream a reality. “With more than ten congregations coming together to worship as one, choirs joining each other in song, people of different denominations sitting side by side, and each faith leader participating, it’s a beautiful way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.”

This year, faith leaders and congregations are scheduled to represent Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church, Northside Church of Christ, Mount Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church, Caravan Church, City of Grace Church, Congregation Sherith Israel, Unity of Music City and more.  Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church will deliver the sermon on “The Eyes of God.” Rev. David Shivers will present a rendition of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Dr. King stood for diversity and a unity among all people. We are celebrating that in the best way possible –actually coming together in one place and celebrating our differences and similarities,” says Rev. Fesler of the Church of Scientology.

The MLK Celebration service will be held Sunday, Jan 14th from 3-6pm and ending with a potluck at the Church of Scientology in Nashville. It is open to the public, and members of the media are welcome to attend. For more information or to RSVP, visit tnuhr.org.


Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Year in Review – Tennessee United for Human Rights

2017 saw the expansion of Tennessee United for Human Rights, carrying out the work of the international organization United for Human Rights in the Southeast United States.

Tennessee United for Human Rights (TnUHR) was formed as a non-profit public benefit corporation in 2015 to educate Tennesseans on the basic principles and foundations of human rights. In 2017, the organization has taken great strides to provide help to people of all ages so they may understand their basic human rights.

Volunteers began the year by participating at the annual convocation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Tennessee State University Gentry Center. They distributed the What are Human Rights? Booklets, spoke to community and religious leaders about the human rights education curriculum and how to help people with this knowledge.

Next, volunteers gave a workshop on Human Rights 101 during the Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism. The workshop was aimed at volunteers, to help them first learn their basic human rights, then enlighten them on how to help others understand their rights, too.

In September, the chapter organized a large event for International Day of Peace centered on the theme of religious freedom. The theme was “Religious Freedom and What This Means Today,” and featured a panel discussion of religious leaders including the Rev. Dr. Jason Curry, Dean of Fisk Memorial Chapel; The Venerable Bhante Nanda, Spiritual Adviser of the Kentucky Meditation Peace Center; Michael Spencer representing the Baha’is of Middle Tennessee; and Rev. Enoch Fuzz, Pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church.

Next month the group followed up on this discussion with a Public Listening Session on Religious Freedom, held on International Religious Freedom Day. Several faith leaders representing Muslim, Sikh and Christian denominations contributed their views during this listening session. They were posed and answered questions about their faiths, public perception of their religions, and religious discrimination. TnUHR plans to publish a State of Religious Freedom Report for Tennessee in 2018, which will include the information gathered through this focus group.

Then, to close out the year, TnUHR was a co-organizer for the annual Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day, a spectacular event which showcased human rights leaders for their work and uplifted others.

TnUHR is planning to begin 2018 with several events to continue promoting human rights and gather information for the 2018 State of Religious Freedom Report for Tennessee.


TnUHR is the local chapter of United for Human Rights (UHR), an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to implementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its membership is comprised of individuals, educators and groups throughout the world who are actively forwarding the knowledge and protection of human rights by and for all Mankind. United for Human Rights was founded on the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, in the face of continued worldwide abuses which violate the spirit, intent and Articles of this charter of all human rights, the first such document ever ratified by the community of nations. For more information about United for Human Rights, go to humanrights.com. For more information on the Tennessee chapter, visit tnuhr.org.