One bishop's public diplomacy

jchane2.jpgWhen the Episcopal Bishop of Washington participates in a conference on religion and politics, it's not necessarily newsworthy. When that conference takes place in Tehran, Iran, and the same bishop has a private meeting with the theocratic nation's top spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei, it deserves more attention. Interfaith Voices, an independently produced public-radio show, featured a fine interview with Bishop John Chane. At one moment Chane describes his work, which will lead to another conference in the United States later this year, as public diplomacy.

There's a separate interview (at 22:30) with Evan Anderson, executive director of the U.S.-Iran Cultural Alliance, who presented a paper that compares the end-times scenarios of Shia Muslims and Western Christians.

Anderson's paper was one of three that drew an award for exceptional research from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The most pleasant surprise in this interview: When host Maureen Fiedler asks whether interfaith dialogue is really possible when both sides believe they profess the one true faith, Anderson says respectful discourse does occur. (Interfaith Voices links to this copy of Anderson's paper.)

The stories here are not headline news, but they should not be limited to the niche programming -- informative as it is -- of Interfaith Voices.

Photo of Bishop Chane published with the permission of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

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