LETTER: Reflection, respect, peace and religion
To the Editor:
As a retired Lutheran pastor, I want to thank you for your recent Editorial on the Jewish High Holy Days, which began this year at sundown on Sept. 24.
It has been my yearly discipline as a Christian to use these sacred days as a time of reflection and repentance for the atrocities down by Christians over the centuries against Jews, all in the name of God — whether it be the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, or the active part or fearful silence of too many European Christians during the 20th committing horrific acts repugnant to the God whom we claim to worship.
Likewise, during the recent month of Ramadan, I also use that month to reflect and repent on the horrific acts of violence and murder that Christians through the ages have committed against innocent Moslems (Muslims), also in the name of the God of peace we claim to worship.
Today we read of an upsurge of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia throughout the world, and yet all three monotheistic religions worship the same God — a God of peace, justice, and mercy.
So your final comment that “there is no better time than the present to put aside our religious, ethnic, and economic differences, forgive those who have sinned against us and pray for peace on our very troubled earth,” is very appropriate.
And it is my prayerful wish that when we Christians observe our 40-day Lenten period that begins Feb. 18, 2015, we reflect on how similar our time of fasting and repentance is to both the Jewish High Holy Days and the month of Ramadan.
That kind of reflection, contemplation and conversation can only lead to respect for the other monotheistic religions and a better world for all.
Rev. Bryan A. Leone
Bryan A. Leone is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.