Putting Out Fire With Faith

During my lifetime, I have witnessed far too many acts of political violence, some resulting in the assassinations or near assignations of national and state leaders. A few days ago, we witnessed another heinous act of violence, as former President Donald Trump escaped death or disability by millimeters as a gunman attempted to kill him. 

Political violence is a growing threat. As a local politician I have personally been in situations that were or felt physically threatening. In the face of this darkness that is growing over the soul of our nation, faith communities have a powerful role to play. Followers of Jesus emphasize peace, justice, and the sacredness of life. By harnessing these core values we can be a vital force for de-escalation and healing.

The Problem:

Political polarization and misinformation can create fertile ground for violence. Some may see violence as a justifiable means to achieve political goals. This not only undermines democracy but also contradicts the core message of Jesus.

The Faith Response:

We can combat political violence in several ways:

  • Promoting Peace and Understanding: We can emphasize our commitment to peace, tolerance, and respect for diverse viewpoints as we interreact with each other, co-workers and friends. Doing so can foster understanding and break down barriers. We can refuse to “Otherize” those we disagree with.
  • Educating and Engaging: We can educate our children about the dangers of political violence and the importance of nonviolent dissent. We can also encourage civic engagement and participation in peaceful demonstrations. Focusing on youth is important. Most acts of political violence seem to be perpetrated by young men especially. 
  • Providing Sanctuary and Support:  We can offer safe spaces for dialogue and reconciliation right here in our church.  As a pastor, I am willing to counsel those struggling with anger or despair and offer support to victims of political violence.
  • Advocating for Change: We can advocate for policies that address the root causes of political violence, such as social injustice and economic inequality. We can also work with policymakers to promote peaceful conflict resolution.
  • Prayer: Pray for your enemies, your adversaries and those who despitefully use you. Even if they don’t change, God will enable deal with them without becoming like them.

With hope,

Pastor Ace 

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