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Letter to the editor: Is prayer event about religion or intent?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 12:01 am

Is Mayor Tom Henry’s plan for “Prayers for the City, a Celebration of One Community” about correct religion or correct intent? According to Kevin Leininger, it is all about religion, which will be minimized. He once again professes his faith to condemn those who don’t practice his choice. Does the mere mention of prayer indicate a need to default to a particular religion, or can it also mean to intend a positive hope or desire without any reference to one’s faith?

Kevin mentions his own faith affiliation and its prohibition of its pastors intermingling with other religions for fear of contamination from “false and potentially dangerous beliefs.” He only gave a nod of approval for such a religious mixture on the basis of harrowing experiences. He believed 9/11 and the Newtown, Conn., shootings were traumatic enough to excuse interfaith prayer. Because Fort Wayne has not had any incidents of a comparative nature, he thinks there are “better ways” than what he deems a “public worship service” to address the violence that has recently occurred in our city.

Not questioning whether “all religions participating can be true,” Mayor Henry seeks to bring citizens together to focus on their similarities that come from the heart in order to foster respect, peace and understanding. I can’t imagine a true religion having a problem with that. Kevin is concerned about generic prayers and “the muddled message the cacophony will send to believers and non-believers alike” and “which god will hear those prayers said in May.” Perhaps his god and many others, if attributed with perfect wisdom, will be able to sort it all out.

Since Kevin thinks there are better ways, I’m curious to hear his suggestions. I have one: Mayor Henry, change the name of the event to “Ditch the Dogma and Come with Intent for Love and Respect.” Maybe then Leininger and his supporters will gain a greater understanding of what the objective on May 5 is really about.

Judith Harris