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All faiths day in Slope

The Brooklyn Paper

Park Slope will again live up to its reputation for unabashed political correctness and cultural sensitivity, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a six-denomination prayer day.

On Jan. 21, the Rev. Daniel Meeter, of Old First Reformed Church at Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street, will host an “all religion” day in honor of the slain civil rights leader. To honor the Rev. King’s blend of faith, progressiveness and leadership, Meeter will divide his congregation’s sanctuary into six separate yet neighboring “chapels,” each devoted to a different faith, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The idea is for Brooklynites to honor King by enabling them to “pray silently for peace in their own religion side by side,” said Meeter.

“We’re just trying to find ways that religious people can do something together as American citizens, so that religion doesn’t separate us, but somehow unites us,” said Meeter. “And, we’re trying to model peace.”

Volunteers from each religion will staff their respective chapels. Meeter is working with the Interfaith Community, an organization devoted to creating such events, to sort out the details.

At least one religious leader has confirmed his attendance — Rabbi Andy Bachman, who serves as the Jewish yin to Meeter’s Christian yang. The two men of the cloth frequently link to each other’s blogs (yes, they have blogs), and work with each other on community initiatives, like the recently founded Park Slope Coalition for the Homeless.

Right now, Bachman is leading a synagogue trip to Kfar Blum in northern Israel, but he recently chatted online with a reporter about his congregation’s plans for King Day.

“We’ll be hosting a section of the sanctuary and allowing people to engage there in the Jewish communal, historical, and spiritual dimensions of Dr. King’s legacy and memory,” typed Bachman.

Bachman will have religious texts on hand that he believes relate to King’s legacy, from the Talmud and Exodus story to the tale of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, two Jews and an African-American who were killed together in Mississippi in 1964 while fighting for civil rights.

To find out who will be praying on behalf of Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism at the event, Creating and Sustaining Peace Inside and Out, call Old First Reformed at (718) 638-8300 or visit www.oldfirstbrooklyn.org.

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Reader Feedback

Henry from South Central, Los Angeles says:
This event seems to be a good idea and coming together with people from different faiths appears to be a solution that will make people more comfortable. As a Christian Church who uses the Bible as their guide, what scriptural references are being used to justify this type of gathering for the sake of peace. There are, however, scriptures which prohibit these kind of practices. For example: 2 Corinthians 6:11-18, Isaiah 52, and Deuteronomy7-8. Further scripture can be provided if this email is responded to. biblesvoice@aol.com
Jan. 5, 2008, 9:44 pm

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