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Clergy preach political and civic lessons as midterm elections approach

Religious leaders across America packed some final messages about the midterm elections at their services this weekend. Some enthusiastically confronted divisive issues such as immigration and abortion. Others called for a reduction in the political polarization that divides communities and countries.

“God has no teams,” Rabbi David Wolpe told a politically diverse congregation at his synagogue, the Sinai Temple, in Los Angeles.

“The idea that one political party or faction is the repository of all virtues is foolish and dangerous,” added Wolpe. We may be able to heal the deep divisions that plague our nation and the world.”

Less than 50 miles away at the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Megachurch, Reverend Jack Hibbs was eager to take sides in what he called the “Culture Wars.” In addition to collecting ballots during Sunday services, he urged the evangelical congregation to speak out. ballot measure It enshrines the right to abortion in the California Constitution and calls it the “Death Cult Proposal.” He told them to beware of local candidates who endorse it or receive support from groups like Planned Parenthood.

Measures — Proposition 1 — are June U.S. Supreme Court ruling Eliminate the longstanding constitutional right to abortion nationwide. That ruling didn’t affect access to abortion in California, but Democratic politicians still sought special protections through constitutional amendments.

Hibbs said the fate of the move will determine whether California remains in God’s grace.

Opposing abortion is also an election season priority for Mike Breininger, pastor of an evangelical church in Richland Center in southwestern Wisconsin. Mr. Breininger does not hesitate to discuss political issues with Newhouse Richland’s theologically conservative congregation and supports candidates who agree that it is the government’s responsibility to protect life and religious liberty. is strongly seeking

“I don’t think all political candidates are the same. Some are biblically correct,” said Mr. Breininger, who often votes Republican.

The clergy did not confine the electoral message within the walls of the church. On Saturday, Reverend Arin Waller, senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, hosted a voting rally for Black his bikers. Motorcyclists gathered outside churches and raced through the city before asking residents to vote.

“We are adamant that if you are a good citizen, an honest person, a good Christian, you will vote,” Waller said. It should sound like you have a newspaper in one hand and the other.”

In his center-left Catholic parish in Hoboken, New Jersey, Reverend Alex Santora encouraged his parishioners to tackle issues like immigration, abortion and gun control.

“As Catholics, we should always focus on the common good and what is best for the majority of the people.

“Living in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, I reject any attempt to demonize the immigrants and immigrants who have built our country,” added Santora. “We should be generous, not restrictive and unchristian.”

At a community church in New York a few miles from Hoboken, Unitarian pastor Peggy Clark blasted remarks by Republicans, including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.

As a pastor with a degree in Peace Studies, Clark has often asked people to reject the impulse to divide. But, “There are many times in life and history when one side is wrong and the damage has to be contained,” she said.

“It’s wrong to use propaganda to convince the public that the election was stolen,” she added. There is.”

“Democracy itself is on the ballot in Tuesday’s election,” she said.

Another New York City pastor, Reverend Jackie Lewis of the Middle College Eighth Church, similarly emphasized the urgency of the election, saying, “The question of life and death lies before us.”

“Jesus was a politician. The church has always been political,” she said. “The question is what is Jesus’ politics, and what is ours?”

Lewis attacked Christian nationalismsaid its supporters threatened the right of LGBTQ people, people of color, and women to receive safe abortions.

“They believe a false Jesus will return to earth to save them. He has an assault rifle on one shoulder, long blonde hair held down by a camouflage headband, and he ‘s blue eyes glistened with hatred for marginalized people, including his own Jews,” Lewis said.

Pastor Ingrid Rasmussen, pastor of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, also called out Christian nationalism and partisan divisions in her Sunday sermon.

“We need the communion of saints to fill the void of our disbelief and doubt…to weave together those who are fragmented and help them see God’s new way,” she preached. Did.

Reverend Dumas A. Hershaw, Jr., pastor of the First Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina, said it was critical that his congregation, which is primarily black, vote.

“It is our rightful privilege to be involved in the process of creating a better society for all of us,” he said.

A similar message was shared with mostly African-American worshipers at Masjidulah, an Islamic community center in Philadelphia.

“As Muslims, we should make positive changes in the world,” resident imam Idris Abdul Zahir told The Associated Press. “Vote for civil servants who have that interest in mind. And working together is the same as faith.”

Voting is a priority, but unity at Pittsburgh’s Allison Park Church is just as important, said Jeff Leake, senior pastor who encouraged the congregation to vote. Can I get an “amen” from someone?

He advised his admirers to weigh a candidate’s character and ability when deciding how to vote.

“No matter what happens on Tuesday, we believe God is in control,” Leake said.

Dan Trippy, the Southern Baptist pastor of the Restoration Church in Buffalo, New York, urges his youthful and ethnically diverse congregation to support candidates seeking compromise on some important issues. I’ve been asking

“No candidate or policy achieves perfection in this world,” he said. “We must not allow our vision of an idealized society to stop us from looking for workable solutions that care about the prosperity of all.”

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Jessie Wardarski, Deepa Bharath, Mariam Fam, Luis Andres Henao, and Giovanna Dell’Orto, members of the Associated Press’ Global Religions team, contributed to this report.

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AP’s religious coverage is supported through a partnership between AP and The Conversation US with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/politics/2022/11/06/as-midterms-near-clergy-preach-politics-and-civics-lessons/ Clergy preach political and civic lessons as midterm elections approach

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