Washington • Addressing poverty. Seeking reconciliation. Protecting religious freedom.
Religious leaders already have their wish lists ready for President Barack Obama’s second term. Here are 10 officials’ thoughts about what they’d like to see in the next four years. Some responses have been edited for length and clarity:
Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council
It’s an opportunity to build on the foundation built the past four years, one of engagement and more inclusion of American Muslims in policymaking, both on the domestic and international fronts. Key issues will be bolstering partnerships with law enforcement for national security, working within faith-based government programs, and building bridges with the Muslim world that will help the U.S. navigate new frontiers of democracy and old battlegrounds of violent extremism.
Kathryn Mary Lohre, president of the National Council of Churches
As followers of Christ, we hope and work for a world in which people have nutritious food to eat, safe water to drink, affordable places to live, access to quality medical care, and opportunities for fulfilling work. Recent figures show that more than one in seven Americans — and one in five children — are living in poverty. President Obama, we now join others in calling you to account for this commitment ... to adopt and implement bold policies that will provide for "the least of these" (Matthew 25), addressing the root causes of poverty, and creating life-giving vocational opportunities. Eradicating poverty is a moral issue. As we join you in partnership, we will join you also in prayer.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
President Obama’s re-election offers an opportunity for the gifted motivator to convert rhetoric into action. My prayer is that our president advances an agenda that protects life, strengthens the family, protects religious liberty, while globally advocating for religious pluralism, especially in Muslim nations. In addition, I pray that our president engages his Christian optics in the spirit of reconciliation for the purpose of healing our nation. This will require him to provide not just political but moral leadership that refuses to sacrifice truth on the altar of political expediency. Let President Obama re-emerge with the spirit of his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, resulting in a collective understanding that the kingdom of God is not red state or blue state, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hopes the 2013-2016 presidential administration:
• Will back legislation that protects the vulnerable, including infants in utero or the elderly in their waning days on earth and everyone in between.
• Will support efforts to help immigrants seeking refuge and citizenship in America.
• Addresses the problem of the widespread poverty that stands as blight upon our nation.
• Recognizes the need to show support for religious liberty, a concern of many different religious groups.
• Supports legislation on the institution of marriage that guarantees a child’s right to be raised in a loving home by a caring mother and father.Next Page >
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