Local Politics

Respect and lots of listening: Faith leaders outline a way through current political divide

Posted November 11, 2020 3:12 p.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2020 10:10 a.m. EST

With bitter divisions across the U.S. over politics, race and other issues, a lot of people are looking to faith leaders to people together. In the Triangle, leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations say rebuilding community is key.

"Character is what will bring us all back together," said Imran Aukhil, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Raleigh. "When we realize that good character, that caring for all people around us, is what's most important."

Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh said the key is "treating people with dignity. Love your neighbor sounds great on paper in the Torah. This is time we have to show it."

From more conservative religious communities to more liberal-leaning communities, faith leaders on opposite sides of the political fence agree it's time to bring people together.

"I believe, if we're going to have an effective impact in this world, to bring civility in the midst of chaos and confusion, then we need to follow what the scripture says and be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger," said Pastor Rodney Baker of Grace in Willow Spring church.

Rev. Nancy Petty, at Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, said, "As faith leaders in the community, we can write a different narrative around what unity means." She said unity is not a synonym for agreement. It means building relationships based on listening with empathy.

"We have to keep learning how to come together with our differences with respect, with civility and with trust, to trust one another that we have good intentions in these conversations that are really hard conversations," Petty said.

Each of the faith leaders who talked to WRAL News said they are already starting to having these hard conversations with their congregations.

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