Faith Leaders Urge Unity, Civility, Prayer After U.S. Election


President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Nov. 10. (Photo: Pete Souza / White House)

Calls for unity and civility, as well as prayers for elected leaders, were voiced by faith leaders following a contentious U.S. presidential election.

Responses from Baptist leadership included:

"It's time we come together with winners showing humility and losers showing more of the same. Won't get anywhere without it," tweeted Doug Dortch, pastor of Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Other Baptist pastors also used social media platforms to express their admonitions.

"Democracy does not mean getting our way but having our say. Now is the time ... to move forward. Those who follow Jesus must display grace," tweeted Jeff Roberts, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Baptist Center for Ethics board member Barry Howard tweeted a link to an EthicsDaily.com editorial calling for Americans to be humble and kind.

Howard, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, later said on Twitter, "Unity isn't contingent on uniformity in theology, ideology or politics. Unity thrives on respect, hospitality and cooperation."

Nathan Finn, Union University's dean of the School of Theology and Missions, called Christians to the Golden Rule.

"Christians, please don't treat the media, pollsters and academics as the new deplorables. Now is a time for the Golden Rule, not gotchas," he tweeted.

"It is Scripturally incumbent upon us to pray for him and for all our political leaders (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2). It is also mandatory for us to honor all people, even those with whom we disagree (cf. 1 Peter 2:17)," wrote Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.

Citing Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address that called the nation to maintain "our bonds of affection" strained by election passions, The Baptist Standard editor Marv Knox emphasized the necessity of bridge-building to "span the chasms between individual Americans" and called for prayers for the president-elect and all the nation's leaders.

Susan Gillies, interim general secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA, urged prayers for "our President-elect and all who won election or re-election" and renewed "commitment to working together."

Catholic leaders expressed similar sentiments:

"Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens," offered Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree," he added. "Let us pray for leaders in public life that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage."

Lutheran reflections were voiced by leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton offered three responses: "Remember that all human beings are created in the image of God, even the ones who didn't vote for your candidate. Pray for our country, for those elected, for understanding. Then we get back to work doing the things the church has always done: welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, work for justice and peace in all the earth."

"Politics is no nirvana. ... There will be many disappointments no matter who is elected," stated LCMS president Matthew Harrison. "So you do the best you can, make the best decisions you can, participate in the system as best you can as a citizen. And pray for the best."

Responses from other faith traditions included:

"We remain a hopeful community that will continue to be civilly engaged and prepared to work with our fellow Americans towards the common good," stated Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Azhar Azeez, while the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations expressed "sincere hope that negative campaign rhetoric is left behind" and committed "to help our great nation to come together and heal."

Stephen M. Greenberg and Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations pledged "to contribute to the hard work of healing the divides in our country which were revealed at times in stark terms during the campaign."

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Tags: Civility, EthicsDaily Staff, Presidential Election


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