Lauren Markoe, Religious News Service, Jan.03
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.