Alex Cassara’s report of an interfaith gathering in Baton Rouge (“Interfaith group looks at state’s religious history,” The Advocate, Dec. 1) was fascinating. The historical religious mix of south Louisiana may, as Professor Michael Pasquier says, give rise to an “incredibly messy process of religions meeting religions.” Beneath the messiness, however, we can anticipate a more fundamental accommodation of the various faiths to emerge.
The historian Manning Clark once noted that the early history of Australia — and he may as well have been talking about post-1808 Louisiana –— was the history of the meeting and interaction of Protestantism, Catholicism and the Enlightenment.
In Australia’s case, those three strains of thought did not merge into a single body of belief, but they have each shaped the way the society developed: by way of example, in the structures the professions took on, the way education has been organized, and the way political loyalties have formed and dissolved. Louisiana, it appears to me, is very fortunate in remaining a place where that dialogue and interaction remain alive and well.
Stephen Tuck, lawyer
Brunswick, East Victoria, Australia