Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 2, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 12/02/2012

Where's the sensitivity?

I am not surprised that the music program held at First Congregational Church has been called "discriminatory."

I ask you to look at this from a different point of view. If a concert were held in a Muslim mosque, Christians would not be allowed inside. If the name of our Lord Jesus Christ were to be sung in the mosque it would be banned. I don't call this discrimination but awareness.

Believers of different faiths would not wish for anyone of another faith to voice the name of their God in their place of worship.

Where is the sensitivity of non-Christians to accept what we believe? Where is their tolerance for us?

It's not wrong to object to something that would dishonor our God. This was held in a Christian church, if not satisfied, hold the event at another location where no religion will be offended.

Also, why did this make the front page?

Mary Miller


Common ground

Offensive is censoring the musical body of work and the ignorance behind the decision.

In 1739 Benjamin Franklin helped establish a non-denominational meeting house in Philadelphia, because churches denied a visiting Methodist and said, "even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."

Documented Muslim soldiers have fought for American freedoms since the Civil War. The Pentagon has an Interfaith Chapel where weekly services are held for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Protestants, Catholics and Episcopalians with a stained glass window designed by a vet that says, "United in Memory."

The first five books of the Bible, the Koran, and the Torah are the same and begin with Genesis. We share common ground in faith and in becoming America.

We believe some local Christians could use a little "Call To Prayer."

Elton and Sindi Wineman

Lake Ann

Creating prejudice

The decision by Pastor Walls and church officials to ban the Muslim Call to Prayer from the music program was a failed opportunity to show that the worldwide Christian church is concerned with establishing or promoting unity and peace among churches of all religions.

Cultural isolation inherently creates prejudice.

To exclude those of good will on the grounds of differences of belief is to deny them the respect that should be everyone's right.

If we fail to address such policies of exclusion, then prejudice and discrimination will persist and we will not see a just community.

To quote Martin Luther King, Jr, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The diversity that has given America so much of its strength requires sensitivity and understanding of people's ethnic, racial and religious differences.

The event at the church was a perfect opportunity for promoting such understanding.

Instead it laid bare a prejudice that weakens us as a nation. I would like to apologize to Alya Nadji for the hurt that she had to experience.

Dorothy Mudget

Traverse City

Good decision

I knew when the Record-Eagle broke the news that First Congregational Church and its head pastor would not allow the Muslim call to prayer played in the sanctuary of its church, it would receive condemnation and criticism for its decision.

I have begun to read them. I am not on that same bandwagon and I want the church and its pastor to know I support their decision. I am so very pleased they chose the unpopular view by choosing Jehovah God over what some think is intolerance.

As a Christian, I know I must stand for Jesus and the one true God I worship; to think people want to force a Christian church to have a call to worship that goes out to Allah, to me, it shows intolerance and lacks understanding for the deep convictions Christians have who worship only the God of the Bible. I am thankful for their decision.

Ken Kreh

Traverse City

International language

As a Christian and an American I can only feel shame for the church officials who outlawed the Islamic Call to Prayers from the Mel Larimer concert series honoring U.S veterans.

Our country was based on freedom of religion and our earliest veterans knew the importance of that. The fact that it was a Veterans Day concert made that much more relevant.

When planning your Christmas concert series you may do well to avoid "O Tannenbaum" from your selections on the chance there may be World War II veterans in attendance. Music is the international language ... learn to speak it.

Julie Budas


Support private arts

I was one of the performers in the rehearsal and concert at the First Congregational Church.

It was a beautiful, well-planned performance in honor of our veterans that received a standing ovation from the audience.

What a disappointment it was to read the front page of Friday's Record-Eagle. Two sensationalized articles that omitted some important facts, as well as ignored our constitutional right of freedom of religion.

Since when is it the right of others to tell a church what music they can and cannot perform in their place of worship?

Instead of bashing the First Congregational Church for their gift of the Mel Larimer music series and the generous use of their facilities, those offended by the church's decision should direct their energy to raising private funds for a Traverse City performing arts center.

That would prevent future problems with "artistic censorship" and give the community a much needed facility without sticking the taxpayers with the tab.

Susan Raguse


Missed an opportunity

I find it sad that the spiritual leaders of the First Congregational Church would miss an opportunity to dispel a prejudice against Muslims and to educate people that the war is not "Christians against Muslims."

I think all church leaders could set an example just like Christ did, sowing love where there is hatred and refusing to let bigotry and ignorance rule our world.

Margaret Patchin

Traverse City