There’s still time to vote today, and so I have a very brief message for those who consider themselves faith leaders in the US.
(Now before you say, “Well, I’m not a rabbi, minister, imam, or priest - so that doesn’t include me…” please know that we define “faith leader” here very broadly. And we need to do so, today. We need teachers, musicians, artists, social workers, nurses and doctors, human rights activists, prison reform advocates, and all friends of the poor, the forgotten, and the dying… if they claim a faith tradition, to see themselves as a present or future leader in their faith communities or families.)
(And if you’re a person who does not claim a religious tradition, or sits in-between traditions in some way, but who still strives to act in such a way that makes love shine brightly in the world, living in the faith that love births more love, and that sharing love is the best way to live in this universe… then if you’ll allow me, I might consider you a potential faith leader, too.)
My message is simply this:
Do not forget that love, at the center of who you are and what you do, at the center of all things and all people -- when you go to the polls today, and AFTER. Continue to take that love with you, and let it guide you. Remember to not allow your vocation, your heart, and your politics to become separated. They cannot be.
Remember that the people who vote differently than you are also human beings, who are living in a country that is being actively radicalized towards hatred. Valerie Kaur reminds us that hate comes from a sense of threat - whether real or imagined.
If you still have not voted and are going in person, do not forget to look your voting officials in the eye, to see them giving their time and energy when they didn’t have to be there. (I myself failed at this one this morning, I’ll be honest.) Then, vote. Vote for the candidates who strive to serve and protect those who are not simply lining their pocketbooks, but who simply want to be free to live their best possible lives. Vote for candidates who will not tolerate hate crimes nor hateful speech, whether it comes from the White House or is found spray-painted on the sides of synagogues or mosques. Vote for those who promote justice for all, instead of violence.
And then, go back to what you do - and keep fighting each day for this kind of love.
P.S. Thanks for standing for love.
P.P.S. Want to develop more skills, or discover new resources, for activating this love and galvanizing your community? Take our faith leader survey and give us your feedback.
P.P.P.S. - Want to see two INCREDIBLE faith leaders provide a message of hope in the wake of last week’s horrors at Tree of Life? Here’s Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis on the Today show last week.