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(RNS) — I’m a secular person. As a co-founder of MoveOn, the political organizing group, I’ve talked for years about how most people want to do good and aim to be kind. I’ve spoken of the need to respect and honor the dignity of all people.
This year I’ve learned an even deeper way to talk about this work, using language from faith communities that are embracing this movement to love our neighbors, even those we don’t agree with.
Year - Conference - University - Boise - Idaho
Last year I was at a conference at the University of Boise, Idaho, to talk about Living Room Conversations, an organization my colleagues and I started almost a decade ago that is dedicated to improving our civil discourse. While there I also had the opportunity to speak at the Vineyard Boise Christian Fellowship. We soon realized that, though I might not share their faith, we do share values.
Since then, in talking to faith leaders around the country, I’ve often found that we fundamentally agree on at least one thing: We all need to step into this time of division by leading with our faith in each other.
Divinity - Person - Words - Respect - Dignity
Wherever I go, I now talk about seeing the divinity in every person. Words like respect, dignity, kindness are core values that speak deeply to others and me, but they don’t go to the heart as directly as “love thy neighbor.” I may not be a member of any faith community, but seeing the divinity in everyone speaks to me too.
Seeing every person as divine means not dismissing “those people” as racist, elitist, mean-spirited or deluded — a reaction that has become common among people who are passionate about politics. People who see things differently are increasingly identified as bad people. “Why would I talk to them?” I worry that it has become dangerous to be friends...
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