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REPLY #5 TO
"PUBLIC PRAYER"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) In answer to your question about about Ramadan, yes I would respect their beliefs and if asked, would fast along side with them. If not asked, I definitely would not eat in front of them or do anything to make their fasting more difficult.
(MB) I was stationed in Turkey during the Ramadan observance in 1994. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about this most-important time of the Islamic year. I was under no compulsion to participate in the required fasting or other ceremonies and none of my Muslim friends asked or demanded that I do so. They understood that I was not a Muslim and that theirs was not the only system of beliefs. While I did not fast, I voluntarily chose not to eat in their presence while they were fasting. This was certainly not the case among a great many of the other Americans who were there.


(R) In the past I have been asked to participate in helping others celebrate their Holy days. (I too am a member of the Armed Forces)
(MB) Being a polyglot organization, the military tends to hold or respect observances of many different religions. Personally, I think this is very good for the young soldiers who might otherwise never be exposed to such things. However, the military (like society in general) could also benefit from respecting non-belief.


(R) But, back to my analogy of the train, assume that I did not know it was coming and or did not believe it was coming, you honestly would just stand there and let me be run over ? Where is your morality ? To let someone die do to there ignorance is probable the worst thing that can be done.
(MB) I agree. However, that's not what I said in my answer to your question. You asked if (and why) I would attempt to warn you. If you had been warned and still chose to stay on the tracks, I could only assume that you wished to be hit by the train. Who am I to decide otherwise for you? If you really wanted to die, do I have either the right or the obligation to try to prevent it?


(R) Public prayer has it's place. But if the person doing the praying public does not live their belief in the rest of of their daily life they should not pray publicly.
(MB) I agree completely. Hypocrisy is wrong no matter what your personal belief system might be. How many Christians pay much attention to Jesus' admonition against praying in a loud voice? Unfortunately, the American versions of Christianity have become more show than substance. This also contributes to the popular (and mistaken) notion that "everybody" is Christian in this country and, therefore, that there is no problem with the symbols and ceremonies of Christianity running amok in public.


(R) By the way I really like you site, it is a challenge and causes me to learn more.
(MB) Thanks! I hope I'll hear from you in response to other essays, as well.


(R) Agreeing to disagree still.
(MB) No problem with that. Nothing gets solved if all sides aren't heard and debated.



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