Marianne Williamson

Women and Religion - October 23, 2015

Marianne Williamson
October 23, 2015— Salt Lake City, Utah
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WILLIAMSON: Thank you. What an extraordinary opportunity to have a world Parliament of Religions, to have people representing religions from all over the world throughout our great tapestry of history here in order to not only support each other, but to support the common mission that common mission being to live the lives that we are all called to at the core of the universality of the themes that we all share. But I think also we have the opportunity being here together to do the work of religion within ourselves, and one of the great religious principles is to purify your own heart and atone for your own mistakes.

So as lovely as it is that at this year's Parliament of World Religions women’s voices are given the privilege that we have at this great gathering as women, let us just point out not with anger or with rancor, that the history of religion has not been so good to women. And to be honest, in many of the great institutionalized religions that are represented here at this Parliament, they're not doing so good even today.

So let's take a moment to atone in our hearts to be honest and be real because religion when it refuses to be honest and refuses to be real, allows itself merely to be co-opted by the very forces we are here to protect human beings from. And that is why many of the female voices rising today in religious fervor, forming a new vortex of priestesshood, are finding ourselves at sometimes working within religious institutions at other times not welcomed in our true femaleness and practicing our priestesshood elsewhere. Every woman here who is a healer is a priestess. Every woman here who is a teacher or an educator is a priestess. Every woman here who feels in her heart that she was sent by divine mission, the same small voice for God that not only leads the great religious figures to perform their divine mission, but which Mahatma Ghandi said was the leader of the Indian independence movement. No matter whether it's political or religious or educational or business or science or politics whatever, we are here and this is the true religious calling to answer to that small still voice within and lay it down wherever we are.

And so the last thing that would serve a world Parliament of Religions and the last thing that would serve the women of the world is for any of us to be too self-congratulatory at this time. Every woman needs to understand that living a meaningful life is not a popularity contest. Every religion, every religious leader, every woman needs to understand if what you're saying is always getting applause you're probably not yet doing the right stuff. Because if we are to truly stand for the reclamation of the heart of humanity, we must remember that we live today on a planet that is not organized according to principles that reclaim the heart of humanity.

World civilization today is predicated on principles that break the heart of humanity. World civilization today is predicated on principles that foster separation and not unity, that foster greed over humanitarianism, and that foster devolution and destruction and decay of the earth and the living things upon it more than the rebirth of the possibilities divinely inspired in all of us by which we might become a human race at peace with each other, with our God, and with our planet.

So when we talk about nonviolent resistance, don't just concentrate on the nonviolent part, also concentrate on the resistance parts. Let us remember the women on the planet today who are raped, who are tortured, whose children are killed, whose husbands are killed, whose brothers are killed, who they themselves are killed and sometimes yes in the name of religion. Let us not forget that and let us not forget that they're speaking real solidarity with such women. I asked myself for instance as an American woman, what if every American woman had laid down on the highways across America and said no you will not invade Iraq, no you will not do that to the women of Iraq, no you will not do that to their children, no you will not bomb their homes.

I also know that to have called for that at the time would have gotten no real reaction, but we, you, I, this is our job. Let us create our societies in whatever area we are, if you're an educator, if you're a healer, if you are religious leader, if you or whatever you do let us prepare the ground, fertilize the soil, prepare the listening, so that as women do find their forces and men to find their voices. We must remember that passion of free-thinking women had never been deeply appreciated by the great religions of the world because passion of free-thinking women raised passion of free thinking children and passionate free thinking children grow up to be passionate free thinking adults and passionate free thinking adults are very difficult to manipulate and almost impossible to control.

Let us remember- let us remember whether it is within religious institution or any other, when a woman truly speaks from the depth of her heart, she might not be deeply appreciated by the men in the room, she might not be deeply appreciated by other women in the room, but if even one man says I support her and I stand for her and if even one woman says I support her and I stand with her, what that's called is a miracle, what that's called is a revolution, what that is called is a true divine goddess because the divine goddess is not just beautiful she's fierce, and when you mess with her babies- you mess with her babies and you mess with her earth she's had enough of that. And we're here on her behalf. Let's go, you know what to do, go do it. Thank you.