In response to S. Amjad Hussain’s March 4 op-ed column, “Faiths of all kind need to preach, practice inclusiveness”: There are many fine hospitals in Toledo, according to various TV commercials. Do they consider themselves equal or superior to one another? Do their surgeons consider themselves equal?
Would the administrators of those hospitals join publicly and say: “Every one of Toledo’s hospitals and surgeons is just as good as the other. None is superior”? How would the hospitals’ stockholders or boards of directors view such a joint statement?
We in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have the same view when it comes to matters of faith. In a pluralistic society, we need to make room for every religion to assert its claims. But we do not believe that life in a pluralistic society means we need to give the impression that all faiths are interchangeable.
We too think it hypocritical, as Dr. Hussain wrote, to “profess equality while holding hands, but sing a different tune to their flocks back in their churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples.” We do not profess equality or join hands with others of different religions. We believe both actions lack integrity.
It is one thing to meet to learn from one another’s beliefs and accept other religions as legitimate participants in a pluralistic society. It is one thing to join together to relieve human poverty, hunger, and injustice. It is another thing entirely to engage in events that encourage people to believe that all participants believe the same thing about God.
We continue to teach what every other religion finds offensive: God’s Son took on human flesh to reconcile self-centered humanity to its Creator, and promises a restored life in a recreated world to all who trust that He has done this for them.
REV. TERRY CRIPE
PresidentLutheran Church —Missouri SynodOhio District Defiance
Churches needto be welcoming
I cannot understand how any Christian denomination could object to having one of its pastors participate in an interfaith prayer vigil after the Sandy Hook shooting, or in any other type of interfaith service.
Along with the Christian churches represented at this event, there were participants from non-Christian religions, meeting to show support for the families affected by this tragedy. What a sad statement this is about Christianity, the religion of “love thy neighbor.”
The offending Lutheran pastor was forced to apologize for his participation. I was disappointed that he didn’t refuse, thereby telling the powers that be in the Missouri Synod that joining together as people of faith is more important than following archaic rules.
It is no wonder that many Christians are leaving traditional, mainline churches for those that are welcoming to all.
Differences aside, we are all one
From scientific data about the DNA in all humans and the religious understanding that all people are made in the image and likeness of God, how can people not recognize our innate connectedness?
I feel sadness for some of us who cannot recognize the spark of divinity in each person, no matter the color of complexion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or faith tradition. Is this not the Almighty’s love that finds expression in the beauty of our diversity?