Editorial: Tallahassee Residents Reach Out to One Another Across Faiths

June 17, 2005

Source: Tallahassee Democrat


On June 17, 2005 the Tallahassee Democrat's associate editor, Bill Berlow, reported, "It started last December during the holiday season. About eight Turkish graduate students at Florida State University, all men, all Muslims, joined several Unitarians to share good cheer and red roses with dozens of recuperating patients at Tallahassee Memorial's rehab unit. Then, on May 8, during the Mother's Day service at the Unitarian Universalist Church, every mother present received a rose - courtesy of the Muslim students from Turkey. This evening the Unitarians and Turks hope to deepen their interfaith, cross-cultural bond with an informal reception that includes other family members and friends. The idea is simple: Peace and understanding begin with small, personal gestures like these more often than with political theater on the international stage... Such attempts at interfaith dialogue aren't unique in Tallahassee. At FSU, for example, professors David and Cathy Levenson, both of whom are active in the Jewish community, are familiar faces at meetings of the Muslim Student Association... A couple of years ago, dozens of local Presbyterians, Muslims and Jews pooled their labor to build a Habitat for Humanity house on the south side... Temple Israel and St. John's Episcopal Church have developed a relationship, too... Some theological differences are impossible to overcome, but the goal of interfaith dialogue isn't to overcome them. The goal is to develop appreciation for the things that we share and respect for our differences, be they religious, racial or cultural."