Faith and Sen. Kamala Harris
8/20/2020, 6 p.m.
Re “5 faith facts about VP pick Kamala Harris – a Black Baptist with Hindu family,” Free Press Aug. 13-15 edition:
Politics may separate us but God is not divided. Only humans are. Culture may define us differently, but religion should not make us enemies.
Within this hot political season, there are “agendas” that will try to do all three: Separate, define, and make us enemies of one another. Let’s all condemn that and prevent such efforts to shred the fabric of our democracy.
Like her numerous accomplishments, Sen. Harris’ religious diversity should be celebrated. We now have a potential presidential team that embodies three of our world’s largest religions: Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity (Catholic and Protestant). The spiritual and religious “bridges” that have been crossed to get here should be celebrated because this is a great American reality. Sen. Harris would bring to the White House the reality that who you are never diminishes who I am.
President Trump declared that “Biden is going to hurt God.” The only possibility of that is to wield some power over God, which humans do not have. God is “hurt” when we divide ourselves from one another with contempt and hatred. We simply worship God in different ways and on different days.
I’ve been a devout Christian since age 4 and was baptized at age 7. Several other faiths contributed greatly to my spiritual growth during these many years. Invited to India with a group to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we were touring a Hindu temple when worshippers hit a bell upon arriving. Initially offended at the noise, I finally asked the priest, “Why?” He responded, “They’re just saying, ‘God, I’m here!’ ” I jumped up from my seat, ran to that bell and hit it with all my might, then raised my hands and cried out, “God, I’m here.” It’s still an exhilarating memory.
Having taught world religions, two wonderful quotes come to mind. From Islam: “God is called by many names but changed by none.” And from African Traditional Religion: “God is like the Zambezi River. God comes to everybody’s shores!” Let’s welcome this beautiful diversity. It can nourish the minds, hearts and souls of us all.
DR. PAIGE LANIER CHARGOIS