Interfaith Group in Texas Debates Whether to Accept Muslim Congregation

September 25, 1999

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On September 25, 1999, The Houston Chronicle reported that the application of an Islamic group for membership in Interfaith of the Woodlands, a social services organization in The Woodlands, Texas that only serves congregations within the Judeo-Christian heritage, has created a debate among the 16-member board of directors of The Woodlands Religious Community, Inc. Rabbi James Brandt, a board member representing the Beth Shalom Congregation, stated in an August 26th letter: "How can it make any sense to include the Christian and the Jew, but to exclude the Muslim, the Hindu, the B'hai, and the Buddhist?" Don Gebert, a Lutheran minister who was the first executive director of Interfaith when it was founded in 1973, is alarmed by the emphasis on the Judeo-Christian clause of the group, which he said was originally adopted to prevent cult groups from joining: "Interfaith has always been open to everybody...The premise of Interfaith is that everybody is equal in the sight of God and what their religion is is their business." The board of directors of Interfaith has voted to form a committee that will recommend in November whether to admit the Islamic group.