To the editors:

I am writing concerning the wisecrack made by Harold Henderson in “The City File” column dated November 4, 1988, saying “Religion is an art, isn’t it?”

Mr. Henderson seems to be operating under the assumption that there is a clear distinction between the “sacred” and the “secular.” He also apparently did not research what the grant was being used for before he made his comment.

Arts-in-Education programs, among other functions, help children to discover, affirm, and express themselves, then communicate what they have learned about themselves to others. If that is not a sacred activity, I don’t know what is, and it would still be sacred whether undertaken by a religious organization or some other one.

The fact is that the Church is sometimes the only organization that sees a need. Good News Church has offered my services, free of charge, to the local public school and a community latch-key group, among other organizations. The leaders of both of these groups agree that programs like mine are vitally needed in this community, yet it was the church which took the initiative in writing the grant and putting up the matching funds for the program. I’m sure the Arts Council would fund a mosque, synagogue, or a Buddhist temple, and appropriately, if such an institution initiated one of these programs, provided, as is stipulated with our grant, that money not be used for the creation of specifically religious art.

The Church at one time was the greatest supporter of the arts. We should welcome, not discourage, this sort of funding. We should welcome support for the arts wherever it happens.

Janet Skidmore

Dancer in Residence through the Arts-in-Education Program, Good News Community Church

Board member, The Sacred Dance Guild