by Rev. Brian Fesler, Nashville, Tennessee
The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) is a professional organization formed in 1929 with the mission of promoting excellence in religious communications and advancing religious literacy. Its annual convention took place this past weekend in Atlanta, and there could be no more fitting place than the birthplace of one of the greatest communicators in modern religious history, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And while Dr. King campaigned the southeast United States for civil rights, a student civil rights group in Atlanta sparked a significant communications campaign at home. In March 1960, a full-page ad appeared in each of the Atlanta daily newspapers. Entitled “An Appeal for Human Rights,” the ad began “We, the students of the six affiliated institutions forming the Atlanta University Center… have joined our hearts, minds, and bodies in the cause of gaining those rights which are inherently ours as members of the human race and as citizens the United States.”
The Governor of Georgia responded harshly to this message, afraid that the students’ demands would create “hatred, strife and discord” throughout the state. Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield did not agree, stating: “this is of the greatest importance to Atlanta, a city which proudly proclaims to the world that it is too busy making progress to tear itself apart in bitter hatreds, recriminations or any destructive violence.”
And thus Atlanta became the “City Too Busy To Hate,” and one of the greatest governmental taglines in history began to influence the thought and action of leaders in industry and commerce.
That is the power of communication, and there is no stronger power than a message born in truth and propelled by goodwill into the heart of Man. Which brings me to the importance of the RCC.
L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “a man is as alive as he can communicate.” I would say a religion is as alive as it can communicate, and amongst every denomination are those called to communicate its mission and values. When they do so with integrity and clarity, then not only does their community advance but the remainder of the world can benefit from their teachings. The RCC recognizes the dignity and value of these communicators and helps them grow and develop their skills so as to better forward their faith messaging. And all to the aim of a better world.
I have been a member of RCC since 2010 and have served as president of the Nashville chapter for much of that time. This year I was elected to its national board of governors, and intend to do my part in forwarding the RCC mission. Religion is facing a formidable opponent in fear, hate, materialism and proponents of the “man is an animal” theory. Assisting people of faith to grow their following, increase their membership and fill their pews and classrooms is vital to the future of the world we share.
We must remember that success for one does not require failure of another. The “win-win” mentality is not a naiveté but a necessity. We need to expect success from our fellow faiths, demand success, assist in each other’s success. We of faith need to hold ourselves accountable to create the tide that will lift all boats. We need to continue our good works, communicate our good works. We need to be aggressively active and divinely driven.
It is time we become a World Too Busy To Hate.
We can do this. I applaud all of those brave enough to stand up for their rights, to speak truth not only to power but to those who are complacent and apathetic as well. May we all contribute to the cause.
Brian Fesler serves as pastor of the Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre of Nashville.