[act-ma] Ted Widmer Rocks Religious Tolerance
director at cambridgeforum.org
Tue Jun 5 12:06:32 PDT 2012
Bringing people together again to talk . . .
Spring 2012 Programs Ongoing
In this issue...
Our season is almost over. Join historian, political speech-writer, and rock star
Ted Widmer on June 13 to discuss the "curious history" of religious tolerance in
America. Contemporary issues, from treatment of Muslim Americans to the debate
about health care policy and Catholic hospitals, demonstrate that the meaning of
religious tolerance is far from settled.
Then it's a case of "The season is over. Long live the season!" It's time to start
planning for next fall, so take our survey and tell us who you want to hear and
what you want to talk about.
But hurry--the survey closes on June 25!
Pat Suhrcke, Director
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A Test Case for America: Washington, Longfellow, and the Jewish Community at Newport
June 13 @ 7pm
Ted Widmer reviews the history of George Washington's seminal communication on religious
freedom and offers his reflections on how well the country has subsequently lived
up to this promise. In August 1790, George Washington made a ceremonial visit
to Newport, Rhode Island. Moses Seixas, the warden of Congregation Kahal Kadosh
Yeshuat Israel (now known as the Touro Synagogue) in Newport welcomed him with
a letter. Washington's response promised continued security to the Jewish community
under the government of the new Republic.
Washington's letter is seen as a foundation stone of American religious liberty
and the principle of separation between church and state. Each year, the Touro
Synagogue re-reads it in a public ceremony.
How has the subsequent history of religious tolerance in the United States lived
up to Washington's promise? Where, for example, do today's concerns about the
location of the proposed Islamic Center in lower Manhattan or police infiltration
of Muslim student groups fit into this history? Which side in the current debate
about birth control and Catholic teaching is truly defending the First Amendment
freedom of religion?
Co-sponsored by the National Park Service, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters
National Historic Site; Friends of the Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters;
the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati; and by Ann Daily. This program honors
Frances Ackerly a former member of the Board of Cambridge Forum and the Friends
of the Longfellow House.
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Ted Widmer [mailto:director at cambridgeforum.org?]
The First Parish in Cambridge
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