Progressive Revival

(The Golden Rule)  is an ancient rule; a simple rule; but also one of the most challenging. For it asks each of us to take some measure of responsibility for the well-being of people we may not know or worship with or agree with on every issue. Sometimes, it asks us to reconcile with bitter enemies or resolve ancient hatreds. And that requires a living, breathing, active faith. It requires us not only to believe, but to do – to give something of ourselves for the benefit of others and the betterment of our world.

In this way, the particular faith that motivates each of us can promote a greater good for all of us. Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. This is not only our call as people of faith, but our duty as citizens of America,

President Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast raises an interesting test for judging religion: does it bring us together for the common good or does it drive us apart?  This seems like a fair framing of the question.  It is fine to disagree on cosmology and the locus of salvation.  However, in our immediate location here on earth the question upon which each religious person (including atheists) should judge the message they are hearing in their temples, mosques, churches, synagogues or lecture hall is:  does this teach me to respect, love and work with people different me, or does it teach me to suspect, hate, or dismiss.  When it is the latter, we should question whether the divisive message is in line with what we know to be both a particular truth of our faith as well as a universal truth.  
Americans are a patchwork made up of people who are very different in race, ideology and religion.  IWe are held together by the fragile stitching of the common good.  Be wary of those who would tear us apart.  

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