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O.C. RELIGION | QUESTIONS OF FAITH

Common Cause in Political Belief May Yet Unite Us

How can the country unite after such a close election?

November 11, 2000

Pastor Bill Gartner

Harbor Christian Fellowship, Costa Mesa

Unity is as much ideological as it is functional. There is no way that political ideologies will be set aside completely. But perhaps they can be set aside at least enough to remind us that one thing supersedes political agendas: our common humanity. I pray that our new president will be able to lead our diverse country in this direction. God bless you.

Senior Pastor Dave Beckwith

Woodbridge Community Church, Irvine

Respect for the process will unify the nation and the awareness that God ultimately places leaders (Romans 13:1; Daniel 2:21). For the future, I believe the electoral process needs to be replaced with the popular vote. Campaigns would then be conducted with all the people rather than key states, and voters would feel their vote is not lost when their state's electoral vote goes the other direction.

Rabbi Martin S. Cohen

Congregation Eilat, Mission Viejo

That 100 million people peacefully voted on a leader suggests that even a country riven by politics can find unity in its self-conception as a republic devoted to the pursuit of the democratic ideal. We are divided by presidential preferences, but we are united by the political process itself.

The Rev. Peter D. Haynes

Saint Michael & All Angels Episcopal Parish Church, Corona del Mar

I suppose the political answer is that the people of this country must realize that our philosophy of government gives us one president and one vice president regardless of their margin of victory in our system. The practical answer is that we must unite behind those elected to solidify the leadership of our nation in God's world. And the faith answer is that we do proclaim to other children of God that we of the United States of America are "one . . . under God . . . indivisible" (and, of course, "with liberty and justice for all").

Senior Pastor David J. Mitchell

Calvary Church of Santa Ana

Our unity must come from timeless values which make great communities. Daniel Webster called them "moral habits." Compassionate love for neighbors, convictions of absolute truth, righteousness of character, humility in attitudes are some of the values of my leader, Jesus Christ. Many have found united and peaceful hearts from Him.

Senior Pastor Steve Petty

St. Andrew's By-the-Sea United Methodist Church, San Clemente

I do not think the nation is torn apart. It may be that the high voter turnout was due to having two attractive candidates run positive, respectable campaigns. Perhaps voters turn off and stay away from voting after mudslinging campaigns that demean each candidate and, in turn, the electorate. It may be that even with the close election results, the people are more united in their desire for positive, ethical leadership than they are divided over the candidates.

Pastor Eric Heard

Mariners Church

Ideally, political and spiritual leaders would set the tone of acceptance, respect and unity. In addition, individual responsibility has to be exercised. The apostle James counseled well in the New Testament, ". . . Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God."

If you have an issue you'd like Questions of Faith to explore, please fax us at (714) 966-7711 or e-mail us at ocreligion@latimes.com.

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