Faith leaders want Americans to pray for collegiality

WASHINGTON — At a time when the ideals of compromise and collegiality seem like a distant dream in the nation’s … Continued

WASHINGTON — At a time when the ideals of compromise and collegiality seem like a distant dream in the nation’s capital, an unusually diverse coalition of religious leaders is asking Americans to pray for civility.

“Through daily prayer, we are calling on the’better angels of our nature’ needed to sustain our nation and solve problems,” said the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, immediate past president of the National Council of Churches and one of the faith leaders taking part in “18 days of Prayer for the Nation.”

Prayers begin Thursday (Jan. 3), the first day of the new Congress, and end on Jan. 21, the day of President Obama’s second inauguration.

Faith leaders from left, right and center have signed on, including Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Richard Land of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

The Faith & Politics Institute, a nonpartisan group that nurtures the spiritual life of members of Congress and their staffs, and presses political foes toward civil debate, organized the days of prayer and an online “commitment to prayer” page to document participation.

It lists 27 clergy and others on day one, including Eboo Patel, a Muslim American who founded the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for the progressive Christian group Sojourners, left her prayer on the page, which reads in part: “Dear God, please move in the hearts of our legislators. Ignite in them a deep desire for the common good. Give them courage to lead and not merely follow the direction of the pundits and polls.”

Though various faith groups often separately encourage prayers for the country, such as the evangelical National Day of Prayer Task Force, it is rarer for so broad a group to organize a sustained national period of prayer.

The idea grew out of the institute’s 2012 “Better Angels Summit” of clergy from across the ideological spectrum. “Prayer partnerships” were forged at the summit, and one — between Chemberlin, of the Moravian Church in America and Pierre Bynum of the conservative Family Research Council — became the impetus for this month’s national call to prayer.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • SODDI

    I want “faith leaders” to shut up. Think that’ll take?

    “Faith leaders” are a HUGE part of the problem. Just read their responses to the Connecticut school shooting.

    And then there’s the Westboro Baptists. Fred Phelps considers himself a “faith leader”.

  • jsoles2001

    Those you mentioned are not faith leaders.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186686495
The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.