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Interfaith Day of Prayer and Reflection

T Thomas

Coordinator, Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma

“My name is T Thomas and I am the Coordinator of the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma.  Now that name may sound like an oxymoron for some of you—Cooperating Baptist—but there are Baptists who actually believe in dialogue and cooperation with other faith groups.  That is why I am glad to be out here with you rather than inside with that “other” group who think that they are the only ones who can pray to God!

For 26 years of my life, I lived overseas.  During that time I was involved in education, social work and other types of helping ministries.  I endeavored to live out my faith as a Christian while working in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  In some of the countries where we lived and worked, only limited freedom of religion was allowed; in others, almost no religious freedom was permitted.  Occasionally the members of my family and I were persecuted for our beliefs and on more than one occasion, my life was threatened for being a Christian.

Having lived most of my adult life in foreign countries and as a an American from a religious minority, I have seen first hand the ugly side of religious intolerance and persecution.  It is because of these experiences, that I am particularly sensitive to the absolute necessity for the separation of church & state and for real religious freedom.  To paraphrase what others have said, a nation is only as great as the liberties that it permits its people to exercise. 

Thus it is my prayer that on this day we as a nation will reflect on these great freedoms which we posses and that we will be ever vigilant to safeguard these precious treasures.  Further we must insure the exercise of religious freedom for all those who live within our boarders NO MATTER WHAT THEIR BELIEFS OR PRACTICES!  Thank you.”

 

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