Symbolize the freedom
Having lived for a time in Turkey and in Tunisia, I am well familiar with the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. It is disappointing that it was excluded from a recent service that honors our soldiers who have struggled and are struggling to support openness and freedom in lands far away.
I believe that to honor them, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or of another faith, we should include the Adhan to symbolize the freedom that they are fighting for in a service meant to honor them.
The issue over the city charter clause that the disposal of parkland requires 60 percent approval is hardly trivial, and the defense of that clause is not "ludicrous" as stated by the mayor in a recent article. This clause has been in the city charter since 1927; it was not changed in 1966 when the state Supreme Court issued the decision cited by the city attorney; and it was not changed when the city attorney originally provided an opinion that the clause is not enforceable, about seven years ago.
The city charter has been amended many times in this period, and we have held several elections concerning disposal of parkland, but the charter has not been amended. The legal basis of the opinion by the city attorney is defensible, but a closer legal review shows that it's far from clear, and a reasonable opposing argument can be made. I personally support the disposal of parkland along Division, but I favor even more the protection of parkland by super-majority vote. I also favor transparency in government, and what is "ludicrous" is that years ago the city did not amend what it considers to be an unenforceable clause in the city charter.
Revisit what was lost
I read with dismay the piece on the First Congregational Church's decision to censor the "Muslim call to prayer" portion of the annual Mel Larimer memorial concert this past week. With Mr. Larimer's values in mind, Sally Lewis and Jeff Cobb would have selected this work solely to honor those who gave their lives in the pursuit of world peace — not to laud one religion over another.
Contrary to what Pastor Wall implies, our soldiers are not in the Middle East in a crusade to assert Christianity over Islam — but to promote democracy over totalitarianism. Mel Larimer would have been appalled at the idea of confusing the politics of religion with the beauty of artistic expression in music. The church elders would do well to devote some time to revisit, in their hearts, exactly what was lost with the passing of Mel Larimer.