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Christian prayers offend at town-sponsored vigil

Updated 1:12 pm, Thursday, January 3, 2013
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On Monday morning (Dec. 19), I was sitting at a red light at the corner of Boston and North avenues in Bridgeport. A police car, lights flashing, drove into the intersection, blocking it off. I've seen that happen before. But I was unprepared for what came next. Not one, but two hearses, accompanied by no less than eight squad cars, lights flashing. And I thought, that must be one of the Newtown children. It has to be.

Two hours later, I was driving in downtown Fairfield. The funeral of Noah Pozner, the youngest of the Newtown victims, took place at a funeral home here in our town. As I drove down the Post Road, I noticed Beach Road was blocked off, presumably to keep the media a decent distance away.

That night, the Town of Fairfield sponsored a vigil to mourn the loss of our neighbors in Newtown. I attended the vigil to be with my community at a time when I truly needed my community. But rather than finding strength in numbers, I spent the entire time being bombarded by Christian imagery and Christian prayers, and "don't worry, this was part of God's plan, and it will all be alright because Jesus loves you."

Again, this event was created, organized, and promoted by the town government, not a church. I understand that in times of crisis, it is necessary for people to find solace in their faith, and I respect their right to do so: in their homes and in their respective houses of worship; not on town property at a town function. Especially, a communal recitation of the "Lord's Prayer" was wildly inappropriate. I went to this vigil because I wanted to be with other people who were feeling the way I was, but as a non-christian, I felt completely unwelcome in my own community.

I don't know who organized this event within the town government, but Fairfield's clergy should be ashamed of themselves. At a time like this, we should be embracing each other, not alienating our neighbors.

Michael Flatto

Fairfield