A story that teaches you about tolerance and intolerance all at once:
Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, the city’s largest interfaith organization, announced Thursday that its annual Thanksgiving celebration Sunday had to be moved…
Can you guess why it had to be moved?
If you guessed, “Because Christians didn’t want Muslims praying on their property,” you win!
The group learned Wednesday that the rental space at the [Hyde Park Baptist Church]-owned Quarries property in North Austin was no longer available because Hyde Park leaders had discovered that non-Christians, Muslims in particular, would be practicing their faith there.
How dare they practice their faith at an interfaith event!
The organizers of the event said they had booked the property over the summer and had “made the interfaith aspect clear” to church leaders.
The money quotation, from the church’s statement:
With little time to find a new venue, the event was close to being canceled, but the city’s largest synagogue offered to host the event instead.
“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said. “Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”
“Symbolically, that’s a very good thing,” [Muslim organizer Shams] Siddiqi said of the joint Jewish-Muslim endeavor.
“They said, ‘It’s an honor to be able to provide the space, especially knowing our co-hosts are Muslims,'” [Interreligious Ministries’ interim director Simone Talma] Flowers said.
Synagogue leaders said they would arrange space for Muslims to make their evening prayers, Flowers said. “What a great testimony of inclusion.”
You already figured this out, but the evangelical megachurch’s leaders are not participating in the event whatsoever.
(Thanks to Maria for the link!)
[tags]atheist, atheism, interfaith, dialogue, Islam, Christian, Jesus[/tags]