After the divisive, angry, hateful words thrown about during the 2016 presidential election, it is going to take some time and attention to heal. Here are three passages from the Torah, the New Testament, and the Qur’an that offer some ancient light on our modern times.
Gail Rubin, the secretary-treasurer of the New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue, utilized these readings in a speech she gave on Saturday, November 12 at her Albuquerque Challenge Toastmasters club.
The Saturday after the election, Jews in synagogues around the world read Genesis Chapter 12, Lech Lecha – Hebrew for “go forth.”
And the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
I will make of you into a great nation, and I will bless you; and I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.
And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him that curses you; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.”
America is a great nation. And we woke up on the morning of November 9 in a strange land. We need faith to walk through this unfamiliar landscape. Let us consider the admonition that those who curse will be cursed. It’s time to end the ugly rhetoric and start walking toward the Promised Land.
In Christianity’s New Testament, First Corinthians 12-20, we read about one body with many members:
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The motto of the United States is “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one. We have many parts to our body politic. And when various body parts fight against each other, the body is diseased. The rancor and incivility of the campaign has poisoned our body politic. We’re all going to need time and words of kindness to restore a semblance of civic balance in our systems.
Lastly, in the Qur’an, the holy book for the Islamic faith, Surah 3, verse 103, extols unity among the people.
And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes his Signs clear to you, that you may be guided.
Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. The are the ones to attain felicity.
At the heart of all three religions is The Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Let us rinse the blood and mud of this election off of our body politic, and bind our many members together with a vision for a truly great America.
May God bless every one of you, and may God bless the United States of America.