So often lately we hear and read about religious intolerance in distant places. Franklin Graham’s opposition to a weekly bell tower call to prayer by Muslim students at Duke University (“ Duke reverses on Muslim prayer,” Jan. 16 news article) struck me as a local example of religious intolerance.
As a Catholic Christian, I have come to realize that there are likely as many personal paths to a merciful and loving God as there are people. Different religions provide us with some knowledge about God – to the extent that we can know about God – and inspiration to live as loving, peaceful people. As in other faiths, the prayer life of Muslims fosters a deeper commitment to God and neighbor.
Although we may call God by different names, I believe there is but one God with whom people of different faiths seek a relationship.
For Graham to oppose the weekly call to prayer at Duke partly on the basis that Muslims worship “a different God” seems unhelpful toward achieving mutual respect and societal harmony regarding our many different religious beliefs. Religious leaders can do much greater good by embracing the diversity of religious expression among God’s people than by obstructing those whose beliefs are different from their own.