scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Non-Denominational?
Michael A. Poretsky (MPoretsky@AOL.COM
Wed Aug 16 2000 - 10:27:19 CDT
The problem I have with non-denominational or interfaith services is that in a widely diverse community, such as Brooklyn, NY, it is difficult to come up with a service that has any meaning at all.
As a member of the Brookly Borough President's Ethnic Affairs staff for four years, I can tell you that putting together an event that meets the needs of our ninty-plus ethnic and religious groups can be daunting. If your community is somewhat homogenious, inter-faith services can be fairly easy to put together. But in larger, more diverse, communities the situation is very different.
Should Christians be asked to NOT end prayers "in Jesus' name"?
Should Jews have to sing Chrisitan hymns? Or hear readings from the Christian bible?
Buddhists do not believe in a personal G-d. (check out http://religioustolerance.org/buddhism.htm before turning on your flame throwers)
Do we include reading from the Koran for Moslems, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikh faith, or the Avesta of the Zoroatrians, etc.?
My personal preference is to have Scouts and leaders attend a service of their own faith and to encourage those who are interested to learn aboout other faiths on their own (with their parents' permission). I try to bring those boys I work with to an understanding that, while I may disagree with other faiths' doctrines, it does not mean that I cannot respect others' beliefs or practices.
I do not believe we should try to blur differences between people. Instead, we should appreciate our differences and try to learn from them.
Yours in Scouting,