Remembering September 11 together—and apart
Tensions over Christian participation in interfaith services in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks continue to create rifts in communities and denominations.
In the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, residents will have to choose on September 11 between two commemorations, an interfaith service or one that evangelicals are holding themselves.
"9/11: One Voice, The Woodlands Remembers" is sponsored by 23 evangelical churches in the area. An organizer for the event told the Houston Chronicle that all churches were welcome as long as they accept the premise that it is centered on belief in Jesus Christ.
Others accuse the event of being intolerant and excluding.
"I don't refer to it as one voice, because that's a lie," Rabbi James Brandt told the Chronicle. "It's only one voice allowed. We have explained the importance of coming together for a national day of mourning. But … they clearly have refused to honor this day by coming together as a community."
The Woodlands' other commemoration is sponsored by an interfaith organization composed of several congregations. The events were planned separately but organizers of each attempted to rent the same facility. To resolve the situation, the Chronicle reports, the two groups met but "after about 30 minutes they were at an impasse." Each side claims the other decided they could not combine the events.
"Our desire was never to divide," the Rev. Greg Johnson, an organizer of "One Voice," told the paper. "Our intent was not to say there is not a place for them, but we do stand on certain values and principles that define us as churches. I don't believe that's being exclusionary; that's just our principles and values."
Meanwhile, the ...1
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