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Different Faiths, Common Themes at Convention

August 19, 2000|LARRY B. STAMMER

Religious leaders from three faiths who offered prayers at the Democratic National Convention this week presented similar themes of compassion, the common good, justice and peace.

For the most part, the entreaties stuck to generalities. But Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, made a point against abortion and called for politics focused on moral values, not political expediency.

Here are excerpts from the prayers:

Mahony: "In You, O God, we trust that you will keep us ever committed to protect the life and well-being of all people but especially unborn children, the sick and the elderly, those on skid row and those on death row. . . .

"We pray for a new kind of politics, focused more on moral principles than on the latest polls, more on the needs of the poor and vulnerable than the contributions of the rich and powerful, more on the pursuit of the common good than the demands of special interests."

Rabbi Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism: "When we show compassion for another person, it is as if we show compassion for a whole world of people who will issue from him. . . . The Bible was insistent upon the fundamental equality of all human beings. A national party convention is not only about choosing candidates. It is also about instilling respect for the value, the potential and the equality of all people."

Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California: "We ask for the blessing of compassion so that no man, woman or child in our country, or even in the world we lead, will be lost or stampeded in a race that can only be won by the privileged. . . . We ask for the blessing of integrity so that we may stand firmly for justice--a justice that is weighed with one scale, measured with one yardstick, both for the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor, the near and the far, the friend and the foe."

His Eminence Demetrios, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America: "Inspire us, as we gather . . . in this City of Angels to always bear witness to the angelic call to glorify God in the highest by living in peace and goodwill with men and women of this blessed country of ours. . . . Keep our minds and souls permanently attached to the ideals of brotherhood and sisterhood; illumine our eyes to envision a world filled with justice and peace."

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