Tuesday, March 29, 2011
House of Bishops, Day Four, 3.28.11
The focus today was on the relationship between Christianity and Islam. In the morning we had two excellent presentations by guest speakers Akbar Ahmed (former ambassador and Brookings Institute member) and Eliza Griswold (best selling author and daughter of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold). Both helped us realize the depth of misunderstanding and sometimes hatred that exists in this country with our growing Muslim population. For example the major of Christian clergy consider Islam as "evil" and a "threat" to America. We also learned of some real efforts be a reconciling force. In Omaha Nebraska a "Tri-Faith" campus is planned where Christians, Jews, and Muslims will share a common center for worship and learning. In Boston, the cathedral houses a Muslim congregation which meets in their crypt.
I am happy that in Arizona we already have good interfaith relationships through the efforts of the Arizona Ecumenical Council and others. However, these relationships will continue to be severely tested. Another terrorist act will make the vast majority of Muslims in our country very afraid. Two Republican candidates for President have announced that they will have "no Muslims in their cabinet", and one lumped them in the same class as atheists.
On a lighter note, I enjoyed the fellowship of my bishops' class of 2003-2004 last night at dinner off campus. We always have a good time together and probably have more in depth discussions than we do at our formal meetings.
Tomorrow's topic is the Anglican Covenant, something which only church wonks seem particularly concerned about.