The Greater St. Cloud Faith Leaders, an interfaith group that includes the Diocese of St. Cloud, recently issued the following statement regarding this election season:
It is no secret that the 2020 election season has been a contentious one, not only between the candidates, but throughout our entire community. It has been a time of high emotions, strong opinions and great division among families, neighbors, and within our faith communities as well. As leaders in the many faith traditions of the greater St. Cloud area, we have each seen harsh words and actions abounding in these past months. Our fear is that these ruthless behaviors will only continue on Election Day and beyond. And so, we urge you, the members of our various faith communities and all people of goodwill, to seek civility and peace in the coming weeks.
Each of our faith traditions calls us to respond to the world around us, including the civic arena, out of our values. And while there are many values that our traditions share related to the issues up for debate this election season, we choose instead to use this space to speak of our common values of peace and unity.
Unity does not mean that we will all agree this election season; we may not agree on candidates or parties or even issues we prioritize. We may not agree with our neighbor’s political signs or the social media posts we see. But despite our disagreements, we must remember the unity we are all called to as neighbors and companions on this journey, as one human, national and St. Cloud family. Only in remembering this ultimate unity we share, can we seek the peace so needed in the coming weeks, weeks that will no doubt continue to be contentious and challenging regardless of the results of the November 3rd election.
We pray that, no matter what the results of the election are, our community members will work to build a community of kindness, civility, hope and peace. If there ever were a moment for us to summon the courage to do so, regardless of where we stand in this unprecedented, divisive and sometimes toxic election season, it is now.
We ask you, members of our faith communities and our neighbors, to please demonstrate the values of your faith tradition and these ideals of unity and peace in the way you conduct yourself, including your political conversations, both now and as we move beyond November 3rd. May all people of faith be an influence of peace in this divided and polarized climate, serving as role models of civility and respect as we talk to neighbors, strangers and fellow faith community members alike.
In the midst of strong opinions and the actions that sometimes accompany them at this politically-charged time, the Greater St. Cloud Faith Leaders group urges peace, respect and civility.
Faith communities participating in the group include: the Diocese of St. Cloud; Arrive Ministries, St. Cloud; Baha’i Faith Community; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud; Catholic Relief Services of the Diocese of St. Cloud; Central Minnesota Islamic Center, First Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Higher Ground Church of God; Islamic Center of St. Cloud; Jewish Community of St. Cloud; Resurrection Lutheran Church; St. Benedict’s Monastery; St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; St. Cloud Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; St. John’s Abby; St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Cloud and Salem Lutheran Church.
Photo above: CNS photo/Al Drago, Reuters