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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Now, one congregation's plan to place a 16-foot cross on a new building at the town's oldest interfaith center in Wilde Lake Village has stirred an anxious response. Some guardians of local tradition see the cross as a challenge to the core values of Columbia.
"I think it's just wrong," said Robert Tennenbaum, a planner and architect who helped design Wilde Lake. "This is Columbia -- you are talking about a special place."
Since the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center opened in 1970 with a feast of bread and honey, St. John United Church and St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church have shared the discreet low building, which has no outer markings to distinguish it as a house of worship. But after several years of planning and fundraising, St. John United, a congregation that melds Methodist and Presbyterian traditions, is expanding to provide more room for its flock.
The Rev. R. Whitfield "Whitty" Bass, pastor of St. John United, said he doesn't see why anyone would be offended by a cross on the exterior of a building. "The cross is a symbol of freedom," he said.
But others feel just as strongly that the cross will be an offense to the idea of interfaith centers as sanctuaries of inclusion.
"A number of people are really disturbed about it," said Rhoda Toback, a village resident and former member of the Wilde Lake Village Board.
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