Christian Leaders Cross Divides to Call for Respect One Year Before Election

President Donald Trump shakes hands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he arrives in the House chamber before giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, on Feb. 5, 2019, at the Capitol in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP)

This Sunday (Nov. 3) marks exactly one year until the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

And Christian leaders across theological and political divides are kicking off an initiative called “Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics,” hoping the next 365 days won’t be a repeat of 2016’s divisive election season.

Representatives from conservative evangelical institutions like the National Association of Evangelicals and progressive mainline denominations like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have signed on to a statement urging their members to pray for the healing of divisions in the U.S. this weekend and promote the “golden rule” in their political discussions and election activities over the next year.

The initiative takes its name from what’s commonly referred to as the golden rule, expressed by Jesus in the Gospels and often paraphrased as: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“We believe that we can find guidance through this national dilemma in the teachings of Jesus,” the statement reads.

Golden Rule 2020 grew out of a May meeting of faith leaders hosted by the National Institute for Civil Discourse, whose founding co-chairs were former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, according to the initiative.

“In its simplest expression, civility brings Jesus’ Golden Rule into politics and we hope that evangelicals will take advantage of this opportunity and reflect on how we can do that more effectively,” said Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, in a written statement.

The initiative will continue throughout the 2020 election season, both in an online pledge all people of faith are invited to take and in a number of activities planned by participating institutions and denominations.

For example, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is asking its pastors to write and teach about applying the golden rule to politics in the presidential election season. And the Episcopal Church is creating a curriculum for “reflection, consideration, and discussion” on civil discourse, according to the initiative.

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Source: Religion News Service