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Only in America,an event like this

April 09, 2002|BY BOB MAGINNIS

Only in America, an event like this


This coming Thursday, April 11, a Washington County group seeking to promote understanding and tolerance of different religious faiths will meet from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater. Not only will it be a chance to learn more about other belief systems, it's an opportunity to celebrate America.

The idea for the gathering came after Ron Bowers, administrator of Maryland's Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, received a letter from the director of the American Muslim Council in Washington, D.C.

Bowers then began talking with the Rev. Don Stevenson, of Hagerstown's Christ Reformed Church, about an event in which those of all religious faiths could come together.

The result is this Thursday's program, which will feature scholars of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths explaining what they believe and answering questions from the audience. The event is free, no pre-registration is needed and there will be refreshments afterwards.

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This will not be a debate or an attempt to convert anyone, but an opportunity for education about religious differences that have become much more important since Sept. 11 and because of the current turmoil in the Middle East.

Just as important, however, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate what it is that makes America the good and unique place that it is.

Americans don't kill each other, like the people in Serbia or the Middle East, because of ethnic or religious differences. Americans may not agree on what they believe, whether it's politics, religion or science, but they have agreed as a nation that we can live together and prosper despite our differences.

Many of those who came to America more than 200 years ago did so because their beliefs were intolerable to their governments or their neighbors. America represents a better way, one we hope that many in the region will celebrate by attending this Thursday night.

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