* It seems religious bigotry is alive and well in our fair Valley ("Angry Baptists Decry Sale of Church to 'Pagan' Hindus," Aug. 5). I am appalled by the tactics used by two influential leaders in the Conservative Baptist Assn.'s local chapter to defame a perfectly legitimate religion such as Hinduism. I am especially concerned about the derogatory use of the word pagan by the Revs. Jim Covington and Arthur Houk. Pagan in certain contexts can denote someone who is not a member of a Judeo-Christian cult, but also refers specifically to a growing contemporary religious expression known as neo--Paganism.
Does the Rev. Covington really believe that God will look weak because a piece of property changed hands between human beings? Doesn't he have the spiritual maturity to understand that all religious paths lead to the same source, like a spring with many tributaries?
I am just as disturbed by the comments made by Prithvi Raj Singh, who seems to agree with the Baptists that being a pagan is somehow a bad thing. In saying that "it is unfortunate that some religious people still use words like 'pagan' to describe another religion," he tacitly agrees that being pagan is equivalent to somehow being evil. As a leader in the neo-Pagan religious community, I must protest the continued use of one name for my religion as an inflammatory buzz word. In the spirit of interfaith dialogue, let's put aside this petty bickering and focus on what unites us as spiritual beings--and that is the infinite source of love, regardless of what we name it.
MARSHA SMITH SHAW