About this blog:

Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
RSS feed of this blog

Building bridges with Qurans

Today, we ran a story about the Rev. Patrick Mahoney’s plans to rescue the Qurans slated for fire in Gainesville, Fla.

While talking with Mahoney, he answered a few points which have come up in my reporting in the past week or so.

First, after running a story about an interfaith prayer service on Sept. 11, some people called to say that only “liberal Christians” would show up at such an event, and that a true believer would not pray with people who do not accept Christ. Mahoney said that in seven years of outreach to the Muslim community, he’s heard some of the same comments. He said:

Respecting is not compromising your own values as a Christian. Nowhere, in any of these gatherings have I been forced to not pray how I feel. It is interesting that I can go to the former palace of Saddam Hussein, pray with the prime minister of Iraq in Jesus’ name, but here in my hometown, in a city council meeting I can’t pray in Jesus’ name. We are not compromising our Christian faith. I would hope and pray, as an evangelical, that every person would come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but I follow the model of Jesus Christ who would build on relationships, not on hatred or anger.

He also said that many Christians are confusing the role of the military and the religious community:

I can’t overstate it, you cannot confuse it and mix the military and political concerns of dealing with jihadists and the Christian concerns of reaching out to Muslims. It is not the same. It is not apples to apples.

The outreach will not be simple, Mahoney said. There are many intricate details, and building bridges between faiths is tricky work. The complexity might be why many Christians don’t bother, he said.

I think fear and not understanding are the greatest hurdles to overcome and because of that, so many Christians don’t reach out. So many Christians are just afraid, so what we’re trying to do is get these discussions and dialogues where people can talk. Because there are so many myths and misconceptions that just aren’t true.


  • Lisa Cacciatore

    Please please please watch the youtube video on Usama Dakdok, his website is Please please listen to this man.

  • Georgio Falzone

    Until winter. They’ll give off good heat!

  • Sally

    actually, you can pray in jesus’ name at a city council meeting in fredericksburg. any one of us who might attend a meeting could say a prayer in jesus’ name from our seat — or while standing, or in the bathroom, or in a hallway — at any time we want — by ourselves, with a friend, in a group. it’s just that if we’re a public official, we can’t grab the microphone and ask a captive audience of people — public officials and staff — to pray in the name of our diety. but we surely can pray. perhaps not always as loudly as we want or with as large of a group as we may want, but we’re not banned from praying in jesus’ name, and it bothers me to see our country compared negatively to iraq, in his quote,when it comes to religious freedom. no one is keeping us from praying for our elected officials to do good work. this contention that we’re all banned from praying in jesus’ name in public settings bothers me, because i think the argument has more to do with evangelizing than offering up a prayer. prayers do not need to be done loudly, with a microphone in hand, at the start of a meeting, with people of varying religious backgrounds in the crowd, to be real prayers or real reflections of faith. so this idea that america is somehow infringing on people’s rights — in ways iraqis are not — is really troubling to me

  • opiniontoshare

    ” it’s just that if we’re a public official, we can’t grab the microphone and ask a captive audience of people — public officials and staff — to pray in the name of our diety.” Sally – who is the local official who has asked a captive audience to pray in the name of his or her diety? Not just pray in Jesus’s name himself, but asked the audience to do the same, as you claim?

  • Mike

    Sally- Iraqis don’t infringe on peoples rights?? How about women in their own country? Praying in Jesus’ name out loud is ridiculed, treated as a hate crime at times, and that is in this country.

  • Lisa Cacciatore

    this is a holy war…dont get it confused. it says in the quoran to get the agenda done and lie to the infidels if needed, they use the poilitical aspect. it all has to do with each other…we are comparing apples to apples.

  • opiniontoshare

    No response Sally? Could it be that you were twisting the facts of Councilman Turner’s legal case?

  • Les Singleton

    I salute Patrick Mahoney for his act of shalom, pax, peace, salaam! Be a friend! Then maybe speak of a Savior. Build bridges, not walls. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

  • Pingback: Styles from the Under – Success from many styles » Blog Archive » B? Claim bridges Br?

  • Lynn C Woolsey

    Nice! New post! You’ve clearly been working on your writing skills. Good work :) Thank you so much for the genius of well…you!

  • Pingback: Vodafone Laptop Deals