Interfaith Organizations Step Up To Heal a Divided Nation

It is the day after the United States presidential election and much has changed since Americans went to bed last night. There is no doubt that interfaith organizations have always brought people together across lines of difference. This leadership is so needed today and in the days to come. 

For many of us, this outcome deeply affects our social change work and generates a lot of emotions and questions of “Now what?” For many, these emotions and questions are overwhelming. 

Throughout this contentious presidential election, interfaith organizations have served to support and connect members of their communities in the spirit of peace, justice and healing. This work continues. Interfaith groups are stepping into their roles as healers and have planned peaceful gatherings of solidarity across the nation with the hopes of creating spaces for community members to work through these questions of “Now what?” 

At this moment, let us be gentle with ourselves as we process the outcomes of this election. When we are ready, let us look to the interfaith peacebuilders listed below (and beyond) to give us #TangibleHope through their planned actions, and to set examples for what peacebuilding looks like.

National Level

CHARTER FOR COMPASSION:

The Charter for Compassion is hosting a “discussion about compassion and how we are called to act following a US election season that has brought out strains of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and bigotry. How can we heal? How are we called to action? What can we bring to the mission of making compassion a luminous force?” When: Nov 10, 2016 11:30 AM in (GMT-8:00) Pacific Time (US and Canada). Click here to register for the call.

SHIFT NETWORK :

The Shift Network is calling for a Day of Healing and Reconciliation to heal after an election season of unprecedented bitterness. “We are calling upon our country to come together in a spirit of unity, forgiveness, and solidarity so that we can better address the challenges our nation faces.” They will host a live and online event on Sunday, November 13 from 3-5 pm EST. Tune in here. We want to open up an authentic dialogue and explore the difficult questions head on, like “How do we begin to heal?” and “How can we move forward together?” or “What power do we really have?” with Philip, Emily and YOU! In concert with this, there are also 11 local events happening across the country. Find out how you can plan one here

Thursday, Nov. 10 at 5 pm (PST), they will also hold a “Beginning the Path To Healing & Reconciliation” call. You can join by clicking here. They will be beginning an authentic dialogue to explore difficult questions head on, such as “How do we begin to heal?” and “How can we move forward together?” or “What power do we really have?”

We come together as Americans who are committed to embody our national motto of E Pluribus Unumand engage in respectful political discourse rather than warfare.

We assemble to heal the wounds of the election, recommit to our country’s greater good, and mend the divisions that are threatening to tear us asunder.

We will create an inspiring event in our nation’s capital that will be broadcast to gatherings in communities around the country. We will invite local leaders to join in this day of healing and reconciliation.

We also call upon our nation to engage in actions that bridge divides.

We will unify through uplifting music and pray together, honoring the many faiths that make our country great. We will share words of wisdom, rituals of forgiveness, and appreciative moments.

We will go beyond party labels and divisions of class, race, religion, and gender to remember that we are one American family and that all of us are needed in order to fulfill our country’s promise.

FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE

Forty prominent interfaith leaders — from Jim Wallis to Imam Talib Shareef — joined a post-election conference call to heal the nation. Wednesday night, each of these leaders offered a prayer of healing. 

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER:

Shoulder to Shoulder, along with a coalition of Muslim, interfaith, and civic groups across the country, issued a nationwide call asking Americans of all faith, racial and political backgrounds to commit to working with each other post-elections to build a more united country, regardless of who got elected on Tuesday. The campaign, titled #OnNovember9, asks all Americans to go on social media the day before the election and share the actions they will take to take to reduce the tensions brought about by this divisive election cycle. Their #OnNovember9 pledges will serve as a reminder to all Americans that we can, and must, work together to rebuild our nation’s unity and #RestoreCivility.

LIVING ROOM CONVERSATIONS: 

Living Room Conversations provides a structured format for having conversations that actually get somewhere. The idea is to assemble a group of people with different perspectives and have a rich, meaningful conversation. Following the election, they have released a special “What’s next after the election?” conversation guide that people across the country can try in their own homes. 

URI NORTH AMERICA:

The United Religions Initiative in North America held space, Wednesday morning, for Cooperation Circles and Affiliates to share feeling and explore question. As a family of interfaith leaders across the US (and Canada!!), let us create a safe space to listen to each other’s feelings and begin exploring the questions:

Arizona

SUN DEVILS ARE BETTER TOGETHER: 

The interfaith club at Arizona State University will host a bi-partisan evening of dialogue on Tuesday, November 15 to discuss “the best way to be advocates for the well-being of one another” in this social climate. RSVP here. 

California

NETWORK OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVES: 

The Network of Spiritual Progressives is hosting a strategy conference, in honor of Tikkun’s 30th anniversary celebration, called “Now What – After the Election?” This interfaith organization is inviting partners and non-partners alike to consider new approaches to transform consciousness and honor activists.

MARIN INTERFAITH COUNCIL:

The Marin Interfaith Council is hosting an event called “Interfaith Gathering in Prayer for Our Country” on Wednesday, November 9th at Congregation Rodef Sholom. For more information, click here.
It’s been a hard election season on many levels. The rhetoric has been divisive and polarizing. We come together tonight to sing, to pray, and to reconnect. Bring your neighbors, bring your kids, bring your soul, bring your heart. We join together in love and blessings for the future of our community and country.We hope to see you there. And whether or not you can join us, please continue to hold each other, our nation, and our entire world in your prayers.

WORLDWIDE FORGIVENESS ALLIANCE:

The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance is looking past November 8th and onto Nov.16th when they will be hosting a Forgiveness Circle in honor of healing and unity. When: Wednesday November 16th – 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, click here

This has been the most brutal, obscene Presidential campaign ever – the worst we’ve ever experienced in over 50 years of voting. The level of hatred, distrust, lying, racism, misogyny, ignorance, hypocrisy, violence, anger, frustration and just plain madness has divided this country into warring factions within each party, creating a volatile cocktail that threatens to blow this society to smithereens. It’s been a constant barrage of baggage hurled into our faces, beating our beings into submission.

Hopefully, it will all be over by Tuesday November 8th… then the healing can begin.

Let’s begin the process of mending this society and ourselves with a Forgiveness Circle. In this setting, we listen deeply to that which is crying out to be heard. We each have a voice to express our deepest pain, our greatest hope, our peace, our forgiveness, our love. This Forgiveness Circle is not a debate, nor a lengthy discussion of issues. As in the Buddhist Tonglan tradition, we breathe in the pain and breathe out the love in our hearts. We hear the hurt, we breathe forgiveness and let go of the hurt, wiping the slate clean, returning to stillness, returning ourselves back to wholeness, we love unconditionally. Ho’oponopono and other forgiveness methods as appropriate will also be applied. 

Ohio

INTERFAITH WITTENBERG

On a college campus in Springfield, Ohio, Interfaith Wittenberg gathered with nearly 100 students from the college community for a candlelight unity vigil.

“Tonight was about love, compassion and caring. It was about community and finding hope and strength to continue forward. This was a moment to not be alone, when some perhaps felt more alone than ever before,” the group shared on Facebook

The students read an anti-racism statement, said short prayers and there was a time for people to speak words of hope (from their hearts, from quotes and from scripture).

 Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY FAITH COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD:

The Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Board‘s Interfaith Community Liaison Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman called members to reaffirm their commitment to their social change work in a message of solidarity that was sent Wednesday. You can read excerpts of the message below. 

As people of faith we need to be listening from the heart and responding with compassion. We need to be praying for our elected officials that they gain a sense of divine justice and understand it to be a perquisite to peace. Let us pray for their welfare and the capacity to seek forgiveness, insight and strength beyond their own.

Let us reaffirm our responsibility as people of faith to be welcoming refugees, protecting the environment, advancing quality healthcare for all, addressing social-economic inequities, and confronting all forms of racism including xenophobia, homophobia, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

What could be more important for ourselves and what greater contribution might we make during this political transition than demonstrating our unity in the midst of diversity and the power of love being far greater than all forms of loveless power?! We have an extraordinary opportunity to be sources of light and rays of hope.

Shalom, Salaam, Namaste, Om Shanti, Satsriakal, Peace

Kasey

Utah

UTAH CITIZENS SUMMIT

The Utah Citizen Summit consists of an All Day Session and an Evening Dialogue & Awards Ceremony focused on “Utahns Coming Together.” You can find more information here

Washington

COMPASSIONATE ACTION NETWORK:

The Compassionate Action Network‘s Chief Compassion Officer, Karli Anne Christiansen, is encouraging folks to be gentle with themselves and practice “radical self-care” in the face of “election fatigue.” The organization shared the following message and resources: 

“Election fatigue” has many of us feeling overwhelmed and anxious, with more than half of American adults reporting moderate to very significant levels of stress. No matter what happens at the polls today, we all might benefit from what one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, calls radical self-care.

“Radical self-care,” she writes, “is what we’ve been longing for, desperate for, our entire lives – friendship with our own hearts.”

How can we practice radical self-care during a season so fraught with tension that the Washington Post recommends “emergency election meditations?” UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center offers three helpful strategies for finding the good during a stressful election. My advice: Care for yourself this week the way you would care for someone you love very much. Rest your body and mind when you’re tired. Call someone who makes you laugh. Watch this baby goat video as many times as you need to. (I’m up to three times so far today). Remind yourself that we’re going to be okay, no matter what happens, because there are people like you in this world. I trust so deeply in your goodness.

Finally, if you are in or near Seattle, please consider joining us Sunday, November 13th for a special Compassion For Your Body event featuring gifted bodywork practitioner David Melman. I’ve included the details below, and I hope to see you there.


If you know of any other post-election interfaith initiatives promoting peace, justice and healing – let us know at northamerica@uri.org. 

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