Earlier this year, I posted an announcement about my church’s Easter Services and Easter Egg Hunt. I was asked to stop submitting announcements about religious services because some neighbors had complained.
I struggled with the request not to publicize religious services. I’m not asking anyone to convert. The newsletter editor suggested I submit an opinion piece.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, ours is one of the most diverse counties in all of the United States and our local elementary school reflects that diversity as well:
Diversity includes culture, food, art, language (39 are spoken in our county), and religion. According to keepmontgomerycountymoving.com, we have the largest Jewish population in the State. Additionally, we have representation from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and various other Eastern Religions. Take a drive north on New Hampshire Avenue and you will see no less than 30 different houses of worship! So why can’t we share this part of ourselves within our small community? It is part of who we are! If we can’t share this part of ourselves with our neighbors, no wonder we have so much discord in our country right now.
Posts about religious services or community events at houses of worship are invitations to our neighbors to join us in a community event. Yes, some worship services and congregations are closed to outsiders and those would not be advertised on the listserv. However, my church and many others are open and would enjoy having visitors. Houses of worship have also been community centers; most have Social Halls that are used by Scout troops, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, group therapy sessions, meditation groups, grief counseling, yoga classes, and the list goes on and on! Personally, I have attended Sikh, Quaker, Jewish, Unitarian, Protestant, and Catholic services. I enjoy learning about other cultures and spiritual practices.
If we can’t talk about our spiritual practices in a civil manner on a community forum in one of the most diverse communities in the country, what hope do we have for our nation?
[Petersen lives on Margate Road.] ■
© 2023 NFCCA [Source: https://nfcca.org/news/nn202310f.html]