There is no difference
People have differing opinions on the decision to exclude the Islamic Call to Worship from the concert at the First Congregational Church, and I accept that I cannot change that. What is absolutely unacceptable is the ignorance demonstrated by the pastor, church council members and our community at large.
Christians, Muslims and Jews are all People of the Book. This means we share one very important thing; we all worship the same God. Muslims do not worship a different God. Allah is simply the Arabic word for God; Christian Copts in Egypt refer to God as Allah; there is no difference. Islam, Christianity and Judaism have the same origins, but have developed with different tenets and forms of worship. The Muslim Call to Worship is the same as a Christian priest asking the congregation to bow their head in prayer — our prayers end up in the same place.
Pluralism is something Americans should be inordinately proud of; our ability as a society to respect others' traditions makes us great. As Christians we should embrace every opportunity to showcase tolerance and love for our Muslim and Jewish cousins instead of shunning them in embarrassment and ignorance.
It seems that the National Rifle Association trounces on any attempt at gun control legislation. The James Brady bill presented an opportunity to curtail weapons in questionable hands; instead, the NRA lobbied to weaken the bill's five-day background check. Is it the simple assertion of the right to bear arms at any cost, or does fear drive the NRA? I think it's time to look at the Second Amendment. We've gone too far in our interpretation.
Arsenals of guns are piling up in homes, for who knows what reason, and apparently the NRA feels people are justified to do just that. There seems to be no stopping the accumulation of weapons by private citizens. Perhaps soon, the United States will look like scenes we see coming from the Middle East of men and boys riding around in the back of trucks, assault weapons slung over their shoulders.
It seems we have lost the ability to communicate — to talk, to write, to listen, even to think, and now there's a legislative push for weapons in places of worship and education. Something is terribly wrong. We seem to be getting farther away from sensibility and moving into the realm of sensationalism.