City Hall display widely vetted among Christians

February 4, 2013

We were disappointed and somewhat dismayed to find Heidi Seeholzer’s letter published in the Jan. 21 WCR (“City Hall display an affront to Christianity, says reader”).

The letter contained a number of inaccuracies and expressed a serious allegation of abuse and disgrace directed toward her faith community (the Catholic Church) by our centre.

Ms. Seeholzer’s letter refers to a religious display located in Edmonton City Hall. This display was erected six years ago and is co-sponsored by the city and the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action to showcase the rich diversity of religious traditions that coexist peacefully in our city.

Entitled Celebrating Our Faiths, the cabinet gives each religious community an opportunity to display religious artifacts, information, pictures, etc., related to their faith tradition to educate the public about their community, and to encourage the widest possible celebration of that faith community’s heritage.

It is a beautiful project acclaimed everywhere in the country.

On the back of the cabinet, there are general descriptions of each faith community that participates in the project. Each description is approximately 300 words.

Ms. Seeholzer’s objection seems to be with the manner in which Christianity is depicted in this one-page description.

The Christian description was written by a local Christian theologian and vetted by the many Christian members of the centre’s board of directors. These persons are from a variety of Christian traditions, including Catholicism.

They found no objection to the content of the description, and agreed that what was written could stand as a worthy depiction of their religious tradition in the public square.

From Ms. Seeholzer’s letter, it is difficult to understand the precise root of her objection to the description of Christianity in our display.

Whatever the source of Ms. Seeholzer’s angst, it is simply unfair to refer to our centre’s display as nonsense, an affront, abusive or disgraceful.

Nasim Kherani, President
Julien Hammond, Vice-President
Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action