There are two types of people who sometimes object to participating in interfaith ceremonies: religious and irreligious.
First the religious. After the horrible shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the local clergy sponsored an ecumenical prayer service. While I don’t believe there is a deity who listens to prayers, I do understand the value of a community coming together publicly to mourn such a tragedy. One victim was a little girl who had recently joined Christ the King Lutheran Church. Its pastor, Robert Morris, gave the benediction. President Barack Obama and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy attended.
Pastor Morris had made it clear that participants at the service did not necessarily endorse one another’s theological views. Nonetheless, up the Lutheran authority chain Pastor Matthew C. Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, reprimanded Morris for participating. Pastor Harrison said he feared such ecumenical activities might give the impression that it doesn’t matter who God is, how to worship Jesus, and what we need to do to get to heaven.
To read the rest of this Washington Post On Faith article, click here.
Herb Silverman is founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, AHA board member, and author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt.