The folks who run the evangelical megachurch named Hyde Park Baptist Church in Texas may want to invest in a couple of dictionaries as it’s clear that they don’t understand the meaning of the words “interfaith” or “tolerance” and need to look them up. They had originally agreed to host the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving celebration only to back out at the last minute when they suddenly realized, despite having been told in advance, that there would be non-Christians, particularly Muslims, participating:
Organizers had booked the gymnasium at the Quarries in July and made the interfaith aspect clear to Quarries staff at that time, said Simone Talma Flowers, Interreligious Ministries’ interim director.
Several Muslim groups were acting as this year’s hosts for the event. Kent Jennings, associate pastor of administration at Hyde Park, released a statement Thursday that said church leaders received a postcard about the service Monday and only then realized that it “was not a Christian oriented event.”
The postcard also “promised space for Muslim Maghrib prayer and revealed that the event was co-hosted by the Central Texas Muslimaat, the Forum of Muslims for Unity, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog,” according to Hyde Park’s statement.
“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said.
Kent Jennings then added, without the slightest hint he recognized the irony in doing so, the following statement:
“Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”
SEB Translation: PLEASE BE TOLERANT OF OUR INTOLERANCE FOR WE ARE DUMBASSES WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT INTERFAITH MEANS!
For awhile there it appeared as though the group wouldn’t be able to locate another host for the gathering, but a Jewish synagogue stepped up to show the Baptists what asses they were being:
With hundreds of people expected to attend and only a few days to find another site, Muslim organizer Shams Siddiqi said they couldn’t find another facility. That’s when leaders at Congregation Beth Israel, Austin’s largest synagogue, offered to host the celebration.
“Symbolically, that’s a very good thing,” Siddiqi said of the joint Jewish-Muslim endeavor.
Of Hyde Park’s decision, he said it was “unfortunate that people still feel this way in this day and age.”
Well they are evangelicals so it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s not like they shouldn’t have known ahead of time as this is only the 23rd year that this event has taken place. As one person in the news item asks, is that what Jesus would have done?