Part of having a calling is that you don’t get to decide when it comes or where it takes you. My own calling is taking me to Bosnia for the next two weeks as a Global Trustee for the United Religions Initiative (URI). I will be meeting with members of the Global Council of URI — a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.
As I reflect on the eve of my trip, I find myself awed by the power of faith to conjure possibilities out of impossibilities. Faith is the foundation that has marked my journey and my work, and it shapes the moral core of my platform and my campaign. I grew up in the rural south, with two devout parents who instilled in me—through their example and their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement—that your love of God is expressed not through your words, but through your treatment of others.
I know that we live in a time and a culture that seems awash in unnecessary cruelty, but the faith that guides my international work in the United Religions Initiative; the faith that’s called me to bring together Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Indigenous and Muslims throughout the world, is also the faith that tells me not to stand idle in this moment where division seems to be the only solution that politicians feel the urge to give. This is the time to make our principles and our beliefs inseparable from our politics, and to view our faiths as a call to action and as a call to create a world that’s better and more loving than the one we see today.
My faith teaches me that we must embrace each other across all differences, and that we must see past the impulse to deny the kindred spark of humanity in each of us. We must bear witness to the love of family, and the need for stability, for better healthcare, and for better wages that collapses the assumed chasms between white and black, between young and old, and even between immigrants and citizens—strengthening our communities as a result.
I’m running for Congress because I’ve never let my faith be separate from my politics. I’m running because I believe that to cross these gaps, we must build bridges that let truth and justice; love and compassion walk through our daily lives and form the unity that makes our voices heard. For me, the Golden Rule as expressed by Jesus and in many faith traditions, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, is the simplest and truest expression that leads us to a more compassionate relationship with each other and leads us to a celebration of the gifts of our diversity and a sense of security in its embracing of every citizen and resident of our Nation.