Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2010

Religious leaders gather to demonstrate unity among faiths

The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, addresses a crowd gathered at the church, 925 Vt., for a service, “Interfaith Solidarity in the Wake of 9/11,” outside the church Saturday. The service was organized in response to a Florida minister’s threat to burn the Quran and featured speakers representing Christian, Islam and Jewish faiths.

The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, addresses a crowd gathered at the church, 925 Vt., for a service, “Interfaith Solidarity in the Wake of 9/11,” outside the church Saturday. The service was organized in response to a Florida minister’s threat to burn the Quran and featured speakers representing Christian, Islam and Jewish faiths.

September 12, 2010

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Nine years after Sept. 11, religious leaders from three faiths came together Saturday morning to celebrate their similarities and show respect for each other’s differences.

Interfaith ceremony demonstrates unity among Lawrence faiths

The ceremony at Plymouth Congregational Church brought Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders together. Enlarge video

“All of us here are three branches of one family,” said Moussa Elbayoumy with the Islamic Center of Lawrence. “It is a family like any other family. It has the good and the not-so-good.”

Members of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic communities gathered Saturday in Lawrence to show solidarity in response to threats from Florida pastor the Rev. Terry Jones to burn the Quran on Sept. 11. Jones called off his plans, but Lawrence residents gathered anyway.

“This is an opportunity to show that there are a lot more people that are united in faith, united in peace,” Elbayoumy said.

Well over a hundred people gathered around the steps of the Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., to hear the religious leaders speak.

Simone Huls said she came to keep the principle of religious freedom alive.

“It’s a basic ideal that is the foundation of this country. If we don’t come together to support that, if we turn the other way and ignore this, then we are supporting the bigotry and ignorance,” she said.

The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth, also spoke of religious freedom and protecting the books of other faiths.

“We cannot have sacred texts being burned. We will not sit back and allow that to happen. That is why we are here today,” he said to applause.

The Rev. Jill Jarvis, of Unitarian Fellowship, acknowledged that while the religions represented on the steps of the church Saturday shared common ground, they also are very different.

“The fearmongers would have us see those differences as threats,” she said.

In Lawrence, religious acceptance is common, but that is not the case for much of the state and country, Jarvis said and urged the crowd not to become complacent or look the other way.

“We do not have to think alike, we do not have to believe alike, but we have to love alike,” she said.

Comments

cheeseburger 4 years, 7 months ago

Simone Huls said she came to keep the principal of religious freedom alive.

Who is the principal of religious freedom? Oh, you meant principle?

FarneyMac 4 years, 7 months ago

Have you seen Mr. Belding these days? He's in pretty bad shape. I'm glad people are coming together to keep the principal alive.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

They DID sing (with hand-holding and swaying) kumbaya.

If they failed to do that the whole thing was a farce.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

Good thing there wasn't a Sunni-Shia rumble. Those dudes are make the Sharks and Jets look like teddy bears.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

mr_right_wing, snap_pop_no_crackle, Disparaging remarks such as yours are representative of the problem; they do nothing to make the situation better. If you don't like what your fellow-Lawrencians are doing to promote better understanding and forestall violence, what are you doing to achieve this goal? Do you even share this goal?

mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

What, you have something against kumbaya, hand-holding and swaying?

Fine...hopefully they just all stood around and tried to avoid eye-contact.

Is that better? You guys sure are anti-social. Maybe less time on the computer and more time around other human beings???

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm with voevoda. Come on, people. Here was a group of individuals of different faiths and nontheists as well, who exemplified the best of human behavior — love and acceptance of others and respect for their beliefs.

If you have anything of substance to add, have at it. Just making immature and lame jokes is very tiresome for others who decide to not bother joining the conversation because you make it seem so pointless.

And considering what's usually in the news, why not celebrate solidarity and understanding between people of different beliefs?

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 7 months ago

"Shameful excuses for Americans"? "...not only ill-served themselves, but have destroyed the lives of their neighbors and their nation."

Your attitude is the problem. Your attitude is what leads to fascism. You know these people that you think should be feared are our fellow Americans and neighbors, right?

Also, maybe ask yourself why we should fear and suspect Muslims just now, 9 years after 9/11 and at no time before that.

I lived in NYC on 9/11 and watched the Towers fall down with my own eyes, not on TV like you did. I have also had many, many great Muslim friends.

You have a dark, bitter, hateful soul and I really hope you can learn better some day. Till then I'm ashamed that people like you live in this otherwise tolerant city.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

There is no "Victory Mosque." That is a creation of the right-wing media.
The mosque has existed on that site for decades. There are several other mosques in the neighborhood, one even closer to the Twin Towers than the site in question. None of these mosques bothered anyone, including the bereaved families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, until right-wing pundits and politicians riled people up a couple of months ago. The plan has been to convert an extant mosque to a community center open to everyone. Something akin to a YMCA. How is that offensive? The "Cordoba" name originally chosen for the center refers to a time and place in medieval Spain when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together peacefully. This is common knowledge among Muslims and Jews--and among scholars of religion.
Americans rightfully pride themselves on honoring diversity, religious freedom, and mutual respect. Do you honor that tradition, lawrenceguy40? How has this gathering "destroyed the lives" of neighbors here in Lawrence?

Mixolydian 4 years, 7 months ago

voevoda (anonymous) replies… There is no "Victory Mosque." That is a creation of the right-wing media. The mosque has existed on that site for decades. =========================

/Do you mean the Burlington Coat Factory "Mosque" that was severely damaged on 9/11?

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, indeed, Mixolydian. That's why on 9/11/2010, worshippers who came there for prayers, as usual, were redirected to another site, out of concern for possible violence against them. It was in all the news reports.

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

So . . . tired . . . but have to ask because I'm trying to make sense — even hateful sense — of your comment. Who are these "shameful excuses for Americans"? The pastor from Plymouth Congregational Church and the other speakers? Those of us who attended? All Muslims everywhere? Maybe someone you know can use some visual aids or something to help explain that those who commit violent crimes against others are criminals / terrorists who are NOT following the true teachings of their religion, be it Islam, Christianity, or anything else. The rest of the people who practice that particular faith, who have not committed crimes, are not criminals or terrorists. Try to put extremists and fundamentalists and violent people into a separate category from the rest of the group. Really.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

One of the speakers at this event talked about how first the Nazis burned Jewish books and then they burned Jews. The people gathered at this event are the ones standing up to the Nazis emerging in our own country.

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

Your comment and your views and your assumptions about what I am saying are so wrong and convoluted it's impossible to reply. Try, just try to see the difference that I see:

Nazis, terrorists, criminals, violent people, hateful people = bad No hugging involved. No appeasement. Punishment.

Law abiding people of all faiths, not convicted or charged or suspected of any crimes = good

Can you not see a difference??

The people in question in this story are area religious leaders and people of various faiths who are supporting each other.

Nobody said anything about supporting criminals, terrorists, extremists, violence -- this is all in your head and I pity you.

ivalueamerica 4 years, 7 months ago

Why would this woman bury her husband 2 and a half blocks from Ground Zero?

Oh wait, you are using some dead person you do not no, and making things up and exagerating points about this unknown widow to promote bigotry.

Perhaps, since Muslims died in the 9-11 attack, she would be glad to see that radicals did not steal her religion from her and that she can still worship in peace as promised by the very foundation of this country.

A foundation, lawrenceguy, you betray, making you a traitor as much as al quada.

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I don't get the self-loathing comment either, though it's one of the lesser items in a string of delusional and angry statements. I don't know why we bother.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Interestingly, the only post on here from a family member of a 9/11 victim supported the building of the community center.

grammaddy 4 years, 7 months ago

"Do they think she should condone the building of the Victory Mosque on the site of her husband's grave?" Did her husband die in the Burlington Coat Factory that sits there now? Your post makes no sense.

Alyosha 4 years, 7 months ago

lawrenceguy -- you seem to forget, or to have never known, that

  1. Muslims, as well as Jews and Christians and agnostics and people with other kinds of beliefs, were killed in the Twin Towers on 9/11.

  2. There was a Muslim prayer room 17th floor of the south tower which was destroyed on 9/11.

  3. There are no plans for anything like a "victory mosque" on the site of anyone's graves. If you're talking about the planned Cordoba project, that's a few blocks away. Try to be more accurate in your word choices in order not to give the appearance of someone who opens their mouth before they have any idea what they're talking about.

  4. There is "a chapel inside the Pentagon where Muslim employees can go to pray" -- that a "non-denominational chapel was built and dedicated in 2002 in honor of Pentagon employees and passengers of American Airlines Flight 77 who died in the terrorist attack on the building on Sept. 11, 2001. The chapel was constructed at the site where the hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon nearly nine years ago." http://www.factcheck.org/2010/08/no-pentagon-mosque/

  5. Americans Muslims were answering the dangerous call of duty as first responders in Manhattan when most of us were safe and sound and in no danger, in our own homes, demonstrating more heroism and patriotism and dedication than anyone, yourself and myself included, in these comments.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVtup1...

Those American Muslims walked the walk that most Americans only talk.

The world is more wonderfully and dangerously complex than your overly simple and very inaccurate beliefs would suggest. Do us all a favor and a) educate yourself, or b) don't waste our valuable time saying things which have no basis in reality. Unless your goal is to spread misinformation — in which case you should remember God's injunction not to bear false witness.

Surely you can find it within yourself to at least act like an intelligent citizen deserving of the responsibilities of being an American.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

If you hold an event intended to promote unity, and you still find that people in the world disagree with you. You really can't blame the people who disagree. You have to question the effectiveness of the event itself. I mean, unless the true purpose is to demonstrate your superiority over the people who don't intend.

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

It was kind of a general, all purpose message that in Christian lingo was, "love your neighbor and do unto others . . . " People who disagree with that are, at one end of the spectrum, fearful and bigoted, and at the worst extreme, violent and terrorists. If you want to stand up and say 'I disagree with treating people how I would like to be treated' that's your choice. It's just a bad choice.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

You don't think it's hypocritical to judge people for judging other people? Just a bit?

Pete_Schweti 4 years, 7 months ago

It's good to see that 9 years after we lost 3,000 Americans on our own soil we're focusing on what's really important: showing how "tolerant" we are.

Idiots.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

Let me take a guess at what his approach would be-- out-terrorizing the terrorists, no matter how many innocent (brown) people get caught in the crossfire.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

"I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists... I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat. I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith." George W. Bush

Address to a Joint Session of Congress Following 9/11 Attacks

delivered 20 September 2001

TheYetiSpeaks 4 years, 7 months ago

It's good to see that 234 years after we began to build the most free nation in the history of humanity we're focusing on what's really important: xenophobia and bigotry.

Glenn Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

Some folks here seem kinda ticked that three different religious groups have representatives in the same place and are NOT killing each other because the other groups aren't worshiping their god of love, peace, and charity. Or something. I dunno.

Let's say, for argument's sake, we forget peace for this event. Say all three groups have a mutually exclusive god of love, peace, and charity. Make it an all-out rumble, the group with the best god wins, and that god becomes the universally recognized god of love, peace, and charity. Right after they sweep up the blood and guts.

Later on, you find the winning group had factions within it. Suddenly we have three groups that know what the god of love, peace, and charity wants. We've already dropped the possibility of peaceful resolution, so we have our rumble. One group wins, and the survivors all follow the same set of teachings from (some guy's interpretation of) the god of love, peace, and charity.

THAT group ends up splitting into a few groups....

You see where I'm going with this. I, for one, am happy that these folks, who believe they are guided by a higher power, are not spouting off a desire to go to war with each other. Because if they thought their deity told them to, I'm sure they'd happily go at it.

I'm not saying the event shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt. For the most part, each one of these groups' special books says the other two groups are going to some sort of unhappy afterlife. But they're not turning themselves into the instrument that sends them there.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

Actually, none of the holy books of these religions says that the others are going to "some sort of unhappy afterlife." The Torah does not speak of an afterlife at all. The New Testament says different things in different places, all open to various interpretations. The Qu'ran promises paradise to all the righteous.
Most Christian, Jewish, and Muslim believers would not believe anybody who claimed that "God" told them to kill others. They'd think such a person delusional, or evil.

Glenn Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

I'll cede the earlier point. I've not made a thorough reading of any group's sacred texts.

For the latter point, well, history isn't completely absent of conflicts due to someone saying god wants it to happen. A fact which, unfortunately, fuels the ire of the more conservative-type commentors here.

You might say I'm concerned about what the more conservative-type folks think their god wants them to do.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not going to disagree that people have used religion as a justification for war or violence against other people. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (and others, too) have all been used that way. However, usually religion is just a "righteous"-sounding cover for more banal motives, such as greed or fear or self-importance.

Glenn Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

We find ourselves in agreement.

I do kinda feel the need to add something, though.

I figure if religion is a "righteous" sounding cover when calling for destructive activities, then is it merely a "righteous" sounding cover when calling for constructive ones?

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

Morichalion, I do think that sometimes religion is a cover--or maybe better, a reinforcement--for constructive actions. People who are not religious can be highly ethical human beings.

grammaddy 4 years, 7 months ago

I got this e-mail from someone I respect very much and I would like to share it. "I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you." The rest is too long to post here, but it gave me chills. Think about it.

christy kennedy 4 years, 7 months ago

"And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back."

Nicely put. Freedom of religion is what prompted the ships to sail here in the first place. And the idea is not freedom for me and people like me, it's freedom for all.

grammaddy 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm surprised! We certainly know how Fear right-wing you are.

terrapin2 4 years, 7 months ago

How is it "fringe", "far left", to promote religious freedom and tolerance? Just sounds American to me. Why do you hate America so much? Wow is right.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

The US is tolerant of all religions. You can practice any religion that doesn't break our largely reasonable system of laws. That's not the case in every country. The world is definitely not unified in that respect.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

I would never attend an event like this. Not because I'm "intolerant", although I definitely am of some things. I actually find religion fascinating. But this idea of unity of religions is 1. not indicative of any of the religions they claim to represent and 2. it's dangerous. It's true that people of different faiths can coexist without trying to murder each other, but you may underestimate the strength of the other guy's conviction and the extent it will take him if you think religion isn't a matter of life and death to some people.

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