Editorial: Convocation on Hunger Illustrated Positive Impact of Religion on Politics

June 17, 2005

Source: The Christian Science Monitor


On June 17, 2005 The Christian Science Monitor ran an editorial that commented on the interfaith "convocation on hunger" held in Washington, D.C. The Monitor writes, "Even a corner-of-the-eye glance at US politics this past year and the conclusion is obvious: Religion has played a polarizing role... To counter this trend, more than 40 US denominations took part in a Convocation on Hunger last week. Members from the Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, and other evangelical churches prayed alongside Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, mainline Protestants and Jews. They had found an issue they could agree on and which could be raised publicly. For a number of years, many denominations led the call for debt forgiveness in Africa recently agreed to by the developed nations.

Such unity shows that religious beliefs need not be captive to one partisan view. Yes, different religious beliefs may have different social implications. And yes, a civil democracy can often serve as a win-lose contest of opposing beliefs.

But democracies work best long-term only with a spirit of respect and compromise, and protection for minority views and interests. Reasoned argument and compassionate listening offer ample opportunity for religious beliefs to play a public role without ruining public discourse and the political equilibrium."