More interfaith gatherings, but over lunch
Several politicians spoke at the Faith & Politics Institute lunch today, but they tended to talk more broadly about faith without being too specific.
Here are some of Sen. Bob Casey's remarks:
"As a public official, one of the best ways to confront this issue of faith and how you talk about it in a campaign and the public square, is not only talk about your own reflection. One thing that's been missing is a respect of people of other faiths. I think politicians think it's best to talk about what you believe. Listening to others and their friends is as important as what we have to say.
"All of us need to do more to bring faith into the public square, to bring faith into our politics, because unless we do that, those we seek to help … cannot be helped in the way they need to be helped unless we bring this discussion into more and more campaigns."
Here are a few remarks from Katheleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor from Maryland, author of Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way.
"I really believe that children are not born good and they are not born bad. You have to teach them. That's what I learned from my Catholic faith. I think it's important to teach the values I learned as a child. Kids need to learn to serve, to care about others, to think about others. It came from my faith. In politics, what your faith gives you is to do things that aren't popular but is the right thing to do.
"Faith gives you a way to deal with the toughest things in your life. We've dealt with a lot of tough things in our life. You have two choices. You can grow scared and angry and hit or you can say that that teaches you. We share these moments of difficulty with others, and if we open our hearts to others, our lives will be open to others. That's really what I've learned from my faith."
By the way, the event ended with a prayer, er, a moment of silence.