Miscellaneous Published

Members of the Interfaith Council’s Executive Committee and its Advisory Board from time to time submit commentaries to local or national media about various social-spiritual issues of current concern. Below, please find an index of these commentaries. Included are the title and author, the media outlet in which it was published/posted, the date it ran and a paragraph or two from the article. You can view the entire article by following the link.

 

My Word: Many reasons to celebrate Constitution

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, September 16, 2014)

By Bryan Fulwider

The Rev. Bryan Fulwider recounts the many reasons he’s a fan of the Constitution.

Granted how much I’ve written about the U.S. Constitution over the years, you could get the idea that I’m a fan. So let me remove all doubt: I am. Unabashedly. READ MORE . . . 

 

Huffington Post: ISIS Beheadings of Journalists Are Nothing Short of Barbaric

Imam Musri(Huffington Post: 

By 

When a couple of weeks ago I heard about the barbaric beheading of American photojournalist James Foley, strong-but-inadequate words rushed through my mind — words such as “despicable,” “diabolical,” “deplorable.” Yet I recognized immediately that even such strong words fall far short of adequately describing the degree of human depravity that leads to such an act. READ MORE . . .

 

Huffington Post: Stop the Violence — for the Sake of the Children

Imam Musri(Huffington Post: 

By Imam Muhammad Musri

As a Muslim Imam born in the Middle East, I’ve watched from afar with a deep and growing concern as the region (which holds so many wonderful memories from my childhood and youth) is being decimated by an assortment of animosities that are pitting Muslims against Jews, Jews against Muslims, and Muslims against Muslims. My heart aches. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: My freedom ends where your rights begin

robert ray(Orlando Sentinel, July 2, 2014)

By Robert J. Ray

The 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act today and the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on Friday have inspired me to reflect on rights and freedoms. READ MORE . . .

 

Guest column: On meeting-prayer decision: Lawful, expedient not same

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, May 8, 2014)

By Bryan Fulwider

On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to Christianity with its 5-4 prayer ruling in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway.

However, that’s definitely not how any headlines I read described the decision. Nor is it how the five-justice majority would have viewed it. And it’s certainly not what most Christians would say. But that’s what happened, I believe. Now for some background. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Transparency remark from pope wrong

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, March 18, 2014)

By Bryan Fulwider

I’m not a Catholic. But I deeply appreciate the Catholic Church’s active care for many of the world’s most needy. I applaud Catholicism’s commitment to social justice. I find Catholic worship uplifting. I’m a student of many of Catholicism’s great spiritual teachers. And I’m a fan of Pope Francis. READ MORE . . .

My Word: Don’t use religious liberty to discriminate 

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, March 9, 2014)

By James Coffin

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But what happens in neighboring Arizona doesn’t necessarily stay in Arizona; it could be copied elsewhere. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Don’t give FCAT during holy days 

Skolnik photo(Orlando Sentinel, March 4, 2014)

By Hillel Skolnik

Recently, it has become common knowledge that this year Orange, Seminole and many others counties will administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for a number of grades during the week of April 14. This is distressing to many people of various faith traditions since the exams fall during Holy Week, and the night of April 14 begins the Jewish holiday of Passover. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Ham and eggs, a church and a stadium

By Robert J. Ray

There’s a fable that goes like this: A chicken suggests to a pig that they open a restaurant together — they can call it “Ham and Eggs.”

“I’ll provide the eggs,” the chicken excitedly tells the pig, “and you can provide the ham.” READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Overhaul welfare, without drug-testing

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, January 26, 2014)

By Bryan Fulwider

Gov. Rick Scott and I agree on several points: He’s against illicit drug use. So am I.

He’s perturbed by freeloaders. So am I.

He’s against government waste. So am I. READ MORE . . .

 

Huffington Post: Muslims Need to Speak Out Against Persecution

Imam Musri(Huffington Post: 01/24/2014 2:45 pm)

By Imam Muhammad Musri

A few days ago, I came across three separate items on the Internet that, combined, have not only given me much to ponder but have left me greatly disturbed. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: MLK: Celebrating a movement and a man

During the next couple of weeks, people across the nation will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This year especially — the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act — we’re reminded of his achievements. READ MORE . . .

 

Huffington Post: Besmirching Allah’s Name By Trying to Protect It

Imam Musri(Huffington Post: 01/07/2014 5:03 pm)

By Imam Muhammad Musri

I’m not Malaysian. I haven’t visited Malaysia. Nor have I engaged in intense academic study about Malaysia. So I don’t claim to be an expert on all the local dynamics that led Malaysia’s high court in October 2013 to declare it illegal for non-Muslims to refer to God as Allah, which led recently to hundreds of Bibles being seized from a Christian group because they used the world “Allah” to refer to God. READ MORE . . .

 

Huffington Post: Pope’s Values and Message Impressive for This Muslim

Imam Musri(Huffington Post: 12/20/2013 4:22 pm)

By Imam Muhammad Musri

Despite being a Muslim Imam and a member of a minority religion in a predominantly Christian nation, I pay close attention when Pope Francis, Christianity’s most influential leader, speaks. I find him inspiring. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Hobby Lobby case not a simple one

robert ray(Orlando Sentinel, December 17, 2013)

By Robert J. Ray

When the U.S. Supreme Court decides the case Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, they’ll need the wisdom of Solomon. Why?

The Affordable Care Act requires large businesses to provide employee health insurance. It’s the law. READ MORE . . .

 

Guest Column: Hard-fought religious freedom something to celebrate today

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, November 28, 2013)

By Bryan Fulwider

Households throughout the United States are celebrating a presidentially designated Thanksgiving Day. It provides us an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we enjoy as a nation and personally. READ MORE . . .

 

Guest Column: Why the High Court’s ruling on prayer won’t affect all Christians

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, November 5, 2013)

By James Coffin

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of Greece v. Galloway, which will test the constitutionality of prayer as a component of government meetings. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Rights, responsibilities are inseparable 

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, September 17, 2013)

By Bryan Fulwider

Before reading further, allow me to explain what this commentary is and is not about.

Congress has officially declared Sept. 17 of each year as Constitution Day. I’m a big fan of the U.S. Constitution. I think it was — and still is — a visionary, brilliant document. It has repeatedly proved its wisdom and worth for more than two centuries. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: We’re never too powerless to protest

Imam Musri(Orlando Sentinel, September 4, 2013)

By Muhammad Musri

When I heard that hundreds of people in Syria had been killed by chemical warfare, I recoiled in horror, as did most Americans. But for me, the implications hit even closer to home. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Irreplaceable quality of human labor

robert ray(Orlando Sentinel, September 2, 2013)

By Robert J. Ray

As Central Floridians celebrate Labor Day today, it’s a time for shopping and super sales. A chance for outdoor barbecues. A day of r-e-e-e-a-l-l-y long lines at the attractions. But relatively few people will think about labor. READ MORE . . .

 

Guest Column: Well-crafted laws can ensure a more peaceful community

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, August 7, 2013)

By James Coffin,

The bulk of the world’s population seems to believe in the right of both individuals and nations to defend themselves against aggressors — even to the point of using deadly force. READ MORE . . .

 

Guest Column: Zimmerman case reveals test of liberty and justice for all

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, July 7, 2013)

By Bryan Fulwider

Six women in Sanford will soon decide the fate of George Zimmerman, the man charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who was killed by a single gunshot to the chest on the night of Feb. 26, 2012. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Inalienable rights simply don’t exist

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, June 26, 2013)

By James Coffin

Christian apologist C.S. Lewis observed that “nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.” READ MORE . . .

 

 

My Word: A time to speak and a time to be silent

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, May 22, 2013)

By Bryan Fulwider

As I watched the early TV reports about Monday’s devastating tornado in Moore, Okla., I responded in two ways — in rapid succession. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: One step closer to freedom from fear

nav khalsa(Orlando Sentinel, May 15, 2013)

By Navtej Singh Khalsa

Years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed four fundamental freedoms that all people everywhere ought to enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Of the four, freedom from fear is the most difficult to deliver. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Don’t allow proselytizing at public schools 

By James Coffin

On Thursday, while people across the United States were collectively praying for a divine blessing on our nation, volunteers from the Central Florida Freethought Community were disseminating atheistic materials to students in Orange County public high schools. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Prayers from diverse faiths for our nation

Imam Musri(Orlando Sentinel, May 1, 2013)

By Muhammad Musri

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. It’s not a public holiday. We won’t get a paid day off from work. The mail will still be delivered. And banks will be open as usual. So what exactly is this special day? READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Emotional closeness makes a difference

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, April 1, 2013)

By Bryan Fulwider

Recently, I read several articles lamenting the slaughter of horses. I understand the concern. READ MORE . . .

 

 

My Word: Rollins College versus religious liberty?

robert ray(Orlando Sentinel, March 19, 2013)

By Robert J. Ray

The headline was jolting: “Rollins boots religious group, says it violates anti-bias policy” (Orlando Sentinel, March 8). The article said the group was kicked off campus “for requiring its student leaders to be Christian and promote certain conservative beliefs.” READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Shared humanity as prime identity

By James Coffin

On March 3, a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, killed at least 45 people and wounded some 150 others as they exited a Shia mosque after evening prayers. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: 2nd Amend.: What were framers thinking?

By Bryan Fulwider

This week Congress will begin debate on gun control. However, when we can’t even agree about the original intent of those who framed the Second Amendment, how can we determine what today’s right to keep and bear arms actually entails? READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Model gun discussions on religion

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Orlando Sentinel, January 17, 2013)

By Rabbi Steven Engel

“Rabbi, the debate on guns — for or against?” READ MORE . . .

 

 

 

My Word: We need to remember King’s legacy

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, January 13, 2013)

By James Coffin

Forty-five years ago this spring, the most high-profile figure of the U.S. civil-rights movement was cut down by an assassin’s bullet. READ MORE . . .

 

 

My Word: We need harmony in our national house

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, December 12, 2012)

By Bryan Fulwider

Recently, a crowd gathered to dedicate a new Habitat for Humanity house in Altamonte Springs. It was a first — a joint project involving Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques, appropriately called Harmony House. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Does morality demand a minimum wage?

By Robert J. Ray

A friend of mine likes to say, “We all agree there’s such a thing as too hot, and such a thing as too cold. The challenge is to agree on what temperature the room should be.” READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Should all free speech be exported?

JSB_0052-2 copy(Orlando Sentinel, October 30, 2012)

By Jasbir Singh Bhatia

As the dust settles following the international furor caused by the posting of the movie trailer “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube, it seems a good time to ask: Should all free speech be exported? READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Does God choose football’s winners?

robert ray(Orlando Sentinel, October 10, 2012)

By Robert J. Ray

In the little town of Kountze, Texas., the high-school football cheerleaders have been carrying banners bearing biblical messages. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has objected. Now the case is in the courts (“Biblical banners banned under Friday night lights,” Orlando Sentinel, Friday). READ MORE . . .

 

Guest Column: Sharing information without understanding can be deadly

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, September 22, 2012)

By Bryan Fulwider

We call it the Information Age. And in one sense, it is. Words and pictures can be transmitted to the entire world in seconds. And that’s on a slow day. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Religion can fit into the workplace

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, September 6, 2012)

By James Coffin

A Muslim woman in California sued her former employer last month, alleging discrimination, workplace harassment and unfair termination because of her religious beliefs. The proper interface of religion and the workplace is an ongoing challenge — and not just for Muslims. READ MORE . . .

 

Thimbleful of truth, bucketful of balderdash

JimCoffin[Originally posted on the Holocaust Center of Florida Blog, August 30, 2012]

By James Coffin

Mark Twain contended that there are three kinds of lies: “lies, damned lies and statistics.” I’d suggest that the three could also be: lies, damned lies and clichesREAD MORE . . .

 

My Word: Sikh killings: Where is true freedom?

JSB_0052-2 copy(Orlando Sentinel, August 8, 2012)

By Jasbir Singh Bhatia

Another senseless shooting. This time in a place of worship near Milwaukee. READ MORE . . .

 

 

My Word: We must change nation’s hateful tone

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, August 7, 2012)

By Bryan Fulwider

The hate-monger who on Sunday killed six worshippers in the Sikh temple near Milwaukee got his 15 minutes of fame, though he didn’t survive to bask in all his deluded, blood-soaked glory. Unfortunately, the ripples from his actions will go on long after his name is forgotten. That’s why hate crimes are so insidious. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Is the United States a Christian nation?

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, July 10, 2012)

By James Coffin

The Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday published a full-page advertisement featuring highly selective quotations from historic Americans declaring the United States to be a Christian nation. The content should have been right up my alley. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Protecting the ‘stand your ground’ myth

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, June 17, 2012)

By Bryan Fulwider

My heart goes out to the parents of Trayvon Martin concerning the tragic loss of their son on Feb. 26. In the instant it took for a trigger finger to move less than an inch, life for Trayvon’s family became an unrelenting nightmare. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Persecution in Iran doubly disturbing

Imam Musri(Orlando Sentinel, May 24, 2012)

By Imam Muhammad Musri

At the Holocaust Center in Maitland this past Sunday, representatives of Orlando’s Baha’i community described the persecution their fellow believers face in Iran, which is the birthplace of the Baha’i faith. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Religions agree on safeguarding the poor

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 2012)

By James Coffin

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says his budget, passed by the House, is based on his Catholic faith. A series of letters sent to legislators and other government entities makes clear that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops doesn’t share Ryan’s perspective. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Sharing burden is just good religion

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, April 24, 2012)

By Bryan Fulwider

When I read that some Seminole County School Board members accepted pay raises for themselves while denying pay raises to the county’s teachers, I understood why the teachers organized a protest. READ MORE . . .

 

Trayvon Martin, justice and the Golden Rule

JimCoffin(Winter Park-Maitland Observer, April 4, 2012)

By James Coffin

The world’s great religions espouse a principle we’ve come to call the “Golden Rule.” It’s a universal call for all humans to treat others as they’d like to be treated. It’s not a complicated concept. Yet it’s sometimes difficult to carry out in practice because in any given situation we may have a number of values competing for prime consideration. Ethicists refer to it as having to “stack our imperatives.” READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: It’s time to remove profiling plague

Schmitz Profile (Orlando Sentinel, March 26, 2012)

By Kathy Schmitz

Surrounded as we are by a veritable blizzard of news reports, commentaries, rallies and protests, it’s crucial that we not lose sight of the core issues in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Liberty, justice, anti-Semitism don’t mix

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, March 11, 2012)

By James Coffin

Sixty miles west of Orlando is a beautiful, tree-shaded cemetery. It’s the final resting place of thousands of patriots — men and women who have served in theU.S. military. Their choice of burial grounds wasn’t accidental. They wanted family and friends to know what an honor it had been to serve their country. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Prayer bill a nightmare in the making

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, March 6, 2012)

By Bryan G. Fulwider

Let me start with what I’m not saying: I’m not against religion, I’m not against prayer, and I’m not against free speech, youthful expression or inspirational messages. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: King turned a light on the darkness

Gus Davies(Orlando Sentinel, January 15, 2012)

By Gus Davies

The Martin Luther King holiday, on Monday, is special for me as an African-American. Exceptionally so. READ MORE . . .

 

 

My Word: Respectfully agree to disagree

(Orlando Sentinel, June 01, 2011)

By Hatim Hamidullah

As a Muslim imam, I greatly appreciated Leonard Pitts’ comments concerning the furor caused when Muslims applied to build a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (“Band of bigots lives in a place beyond reason,” Sentinel, Thursday). It’s a sad story. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: King championed all rights

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, January 16, 2011)

By Bryan Fulwider

As Americans celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. this month, most of the speeches in his honor are focusing on his achievements in the realm of race-based civil rights. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Earth care a spiritual duty

JimCoffin(Orlando Sentinel, September 23, 2010)

By James Coffin

Forty-eight years ago this month, Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” helped launch our modern environmental movement. Scientists, politicians and the public continue to debate just how serious the risks are, how great a role humans actually play, and how the negative consequences might best be mitigated. READ MORE . . .

 

My Word: Faiths must counter Islamaphobia

Fulwider, Bryan(Orlando Sentinel, September 05, 2010)

By Bryan Fulwider

In Gainesville, a church called the Dove World Outreach Center plans a Quran-burning on Sept. 11, the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. In Manhattan, protesters and politicians denounce plans to open a mosque and community center two blocks from ground zero. In Tennessee, local and federal authorities investigate a fire at the site of a mosque being built by the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Preliminary evidence indicates arson. READ MORE . . .