Carly and Sean Rowe welcomed a new baby girl in to their family last night. Carly is director of Christian Education at St Mark's Erie, and Sean is the bishop of NW Pennsylvania. Lauren was born in the 5th anniversary of her Dad's consecration as bishop. GoErie published a reflection by Bishop Rowe this week on the politics of fear and division and Christianity:
The political season has been remarkably unsatisfying for many people of faith. The central tenets of our faiths, including justice, peace and care for the poor, have been largely ignored by campaigns eager to influence voters by playing identity politics and casting aspersions on opposing candidates' moral and religious convictions.
Too many Christians have cooperated with these polarizing tactics in the hope of imposing their own religion's morality on fellow citizens.
Some have even claimed that they were being persecuted when they did not succeed. If you knew Christianity only by way of politics (as an increasing number of people do) you could easily assume that it aims primarily to divide people from one another and enforce a harsh code of individual morality on an unwilling populace.
This caricature of Christian faith is unrecognizable to most Christians, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents.
Jesus teaches us to seek peace and justice, welcome the stranger, and practice compassion and mercy for the poor, the sick and the oppressed. We share those precepts of social responsibility with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and people from many other faith traditions.
If we can learn to talk together over the polarizing political din, these values can form the foundation of a genuinely respectful pluralistic society.
Read it all here.