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Following the election, there have been reports of a rise in attendance at religious services, and in particular at more progressive churches. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. After an emotional campaign season that revealed deep divisions in the country, a natural place for support and healing is a religious community. Greater engagement also presents challenges and opportunities for faith leaders. What kind of moral leadership do they provide? And how will they reach out to people from both sides of the political gulf? Diane and her panel of faith leaders discuss efforts to unite a divided country.
- Yahya Hendi Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University Muslim Chaplain, National Naval Medical Center
- Derrick Harkins Senior vice president for innovations in public programming, Union Theological Seminary; former director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic Party and adviser to President Obama; former senior pastor, The Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
- Mariann Edgar Budde Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.
- Shira Stutman Senior Rabbi, 6th and I Synagogue in Washington, DC
- Bob Roberts Founder and Senior Pastor, NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. The end of the year and the holiday season are a time many Americans reflect, take stock and look ahead, things that feel particularly important after this divisive election. Here to discuss moral leadership in politically difficult times, Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington D.C., Yahya Hendi, Georgetown University's Muslim chaplin, Rabbi Shira Stutman of the 6th and I Synagogue and joining us from the studios of NPR in New York, the Reverend Derrick Harkins of the Union Theological Seminary.
MS. DIANE REHMAnd joining us by phone from Keller, Texas, Bob Roberts, senior pastor at Northwood Church. Throughout the hour, I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts, your questions, your ideas. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. And welcome to all of you here in the studio and in New York and in Keller Texas.
IMAM YAHYA HENDIWell, thank you for having us.
BISHOP MARIANN EDGAR BUDDEThank you, Diane. Great to be here.
RABBI SHIRA STUTMANSo great to be with you.
REHMThank you all. Reverend Derrick Harkins, I'd like to start with you and get you to talk about the challenges that you face as a faith leader in this current political climate.
REV. DERRICK HARKINSSure, Diane. It's so good to be with you. I'll say a couple of things very quickly and one of them is from a pastoral context, understanding that the sense of trauma, the sense of fear, the sense of grief even are very real and addressing those, of course, we want to unite and come together, but my -- I'm compelled, initially to speak to the hurts and fears and concerns that are evidence to, you know, the day after the election, we had a gathering at Union Seminary and one of our students who's Muslim, she got up and she spoke about the imminent sense of fear that her family has expressed now.
REV. DERRICK HARKINSVery real and very concrete. And, of course, we can rehearse those kinds of stories many times over. So I think square one is to speak into those places where there is that sense of vulnerability and fear and bring the measure of encouragement and the measure of resolve to move forward into the future as part of what we do. And at Union and a number of work -- a lot of our work, I should say, now is really focused on doing that, helping people to move into what needs to be the next kind of step in regards to -- stepping into a very clearly unknown future.
REHMBishop Mariann Budde, I wonder how you saw your own role in this election and how you see it following the results.
BUDDEAs the election season unfolded and became more and more strident and divisive in tone -- and quite honestly, speaking as a Christian, the real abandonment of any real sense of Christian values coming from the candidate that was clearly garnering a significant portion of the Christian vote was truly disconcerting and it allowed many of us to feel as if -- that it -- that Donald Trump's election could not happen with the support of Christians because there was no real effort on his part to speak to the Christian values that are at the heart of the broad base of America.
BUDDEAnd so I think it caused, for those of us in the Christian faith, some real soul-searching as to how it could be. And we were talking about this just before the show, how it could be that there was a such a sentiment of wanting to blow up the political class. That was language that was used a lot by Christians and that it was worth it to align oneself with someone who was so unapologetically un-Christian in the way he was organizing his campaign.
REHMAnd to you, Imam Yahya Hendi, tell us a little bit about the needs of the students you work with and how they and you functioned during the election season.
HENDIWell, the students are afraid, are troubled, are worried not only at Georgetown University, but across the country. There are undocumented students who are about to finish their PhD, master's, bachelor's and worried, worried that by the beginning of the next semester, they will be asked to go back home, wherever that home is. And their classmates are afraid, are worried what will happen to their classmates with whom they went to college for so many years. In terms of the Muslim community, the fear is also real.
HENDIThere have been so many cases of attacks on Muslim students, either pulling their hijab off or throwing them off the stairs. Across the country, we hear of a case every day. Whether it's happening on campus or off campus, it is affecting the way Muslim students think. At Georgetown University, we're very blessed. We have a president, John DeGioia, who came to a Friday service two days, three days after the elections and said to the students, I am here with you. I am for you. We will not allow anyone to undermine Muslim students on campus.
HENDIWednesday morning, a day after the election, 500 Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahaists, people of faith and people of no faith, came together to pray for America, to pray for the nation, to pray for all of us. Those who have voted for Trump and those who have voted for Clinton came together. My message has been let us all be in this together.
REHMAnd to you, Rabbi Shira Stutman, you also work with younger people. How did they react? How did you interact with them?
STUTMANYeah, a lot of the young people -- we work mostly with people in their 20s and 30s and a lot of them moved to D.C. after college or grad school, very idealistic, wanting to work in government, the very government that lots of American voters voted to blow up. And so there was an incredibly dispirited feeling among a lot of our (word?) but especially a lot of the ones who work in government, because they came here because they wanted to work on climate change, or because they wanted to create a more peaceful, more just world.
STUTMANAnd so the anxiety of all the questions that lay in front of them was quite overwhelming. We advertised, for instance, a class, a workshop for people who are working in government to help come together and process the election so that they could begin to make decisions. Do they want to serve under the next administration? Do they want to walk away? And overnight, our first workshop sold out. And so we have a few more coming down the pike in January just for people who really thought that America was going in one direction and are now living in the anxiety about what the actual direction is that our country will be moving in.
REHMAnd to you, Pastor Bob Roberts. Tell us about your church. I know it's quite diverse and that does include very differing political views.
PASTOR BOB ROBERTSIt is. So don't hold the Texas against me. I'm from way south down here, but our church is diverse. And we desegregated intentionally, our church, about three and a half years ago. It had gradually been happening, but we took a stronger stand on that from our elders and our staff and so forth. Our church has also been aggressively involved in Muslim outreach. That might be easy to do or maybe not in the northeast, but trying to do that in Texas, Dallas in particular, can be a little bit challenging.
PASTOR BOB ROBERTSSo I think the biggest challenge I'm trying to communicate to my people right now is number one -- as a matter of fact, I'm doing a whole sermon series in January on anxiety. How do we deal with the stress of what we feel? I'm at a church where I would say the younger people probably went for Clinton and the older people probably went for Trump. So I have a mix of everything in my church in terms of who they voted for, how they view the world. You're dealing with world views. I think this election showed a sharp differentiation between millennials and older generations.
PASTOR BOB ROBERTSI think it showed a sharp differentiation in moral views. And so the challenge that I face is not saying it's this view or that view, but how do we have different views and live in conversation? How do we talk about this? You voted for one person. Your grandparents or parents voted for another person. What is it going to look like at Christmas to sit down and talk and have deep conversations on this? Our country -- what concerns me is deeply divided. You know, I don't look at the election results and feel like one side really won.
PASTOR BOB ROBERTSFrankly, I feel like, in many ways, we all lost, except for the candidates perhaps that won the election. So I think the challenge for us is how do we build back the relationship between the right and the left, the Democrats and the Republicans, the young and the old? And I don't think we've figured that out. I think we know our political positions. I don't think we know how to relationally communicate. I don't think we know how to engage and that's where my passion is. And so, like, for example, Martin Luther King Day that comes up in January. The Sunday before that, we're going to have a huge celebration at our church, but it just won't be racist.
PASTOR BOB ROBERTSYahya Hendi will have a couple of mosques that will be with us for that day. We'll have ethnic food. We'll have halal, all of it.
REHMBob Roberts, he's founder and senior pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. When we come back, I hope you'll join us. Questions, comments, 800-433-8850. Stay with us.
REHMAnd welcome back. We're talking with members of various faith communities today to talk about how they are interacting with their own members of their communities, and how they can encourage us to be with everyone, whether we voted for Hillary Clinton, whether we voted for Donald Trump, whether we feel strongly about banking regulations or climate change, whatever we feel, the point is there has to be communication. And there are no better people in this world to help us understand how to do that than my five guests today.
REHMYahya Hendi is Georgetown University Muslim Chaplain. Shira Stutman is senior Rabbi at Synagogue at 6th and I here in Washington, D.C. Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Joining us from New York City, Reverend Derrick Harkins. He's at Union Theological Seminary. And from Keller, Texas, Bob Roberts. He's founder and Senior Pastor of NorthWood Church. Rabbi Stutman, there have been stories about how this election is bringing Muslims and Jews together. Can you tell us about that?
STUTMANSure. I think one of the big surprises for a lot of 6th and I has been the rise in anti-Semitism. I think for a lot of the younger people, they really felt like in America that was something that was behind them. And with the rise of anti-Semitism has come a feeling of vulnerability that they haven't previously experienced. But even with our vulnerability, we recognize that there are communities that are more vulnerable than we are. And one of them is the Muslim community.
STUTMANAnd so over the last months really, even before the election, we at 6th and I have been reaching out to partners in the Muslim community. Just last Friday, a bunch of 6th and Iers went to Jum'a prayer with Adam CC (sp?) as a way of standing in solidarity with the Muslim community and acknowledging that we -- that they might be more vulnerable than us in this moment, but we are standing with them in any way that they choose moving forward. And I think it's extremely powerful, especially because in recent time the Muslim and the Jewish communities have been set up against each other, because of the Middle East and Israel and Palestine.
STUTMANAnd what we are saying to each other right now is that there may be areas where we disagree. But the areas where we agree is that this needs to be a country where all Americans -- all people who live here need to live in dignity and respect for their values and their traditions.
REHMPastor Roberts, you made a name for yourself by doing a Muslim outreach. You also talked about desegregation, which your church did several years ago. How many people left your congregation as a result?
ROBERTSThat's not a proper question to ask a Baptist pastor from Texas, because we want to grow our churches. But the truth of the matter is, we lost about 400 people in two phases. The first group, when we began to reach out to the Muslim community, the response was, hey, we're doing events with Muslims. We're having youth events. We're doing community projects together. They're going to blow us up. And, you know, I would tell them, hey, you believe you're going to heaven, it's all right. But that didn't seem to comfort them a lot.
ROBERTSBut the reality is -- and I think the Rabbi, listening to her talk, would understand this -- though we lost people, we actually gained many more millennials that wound up coming to our church. And the same with reference to the race issue. We lost people, once again. But we wound up gaining people because there's certain things that we know are wrong in our society. And the church should be a place not to just endorse the wrong, but show a different path.
ROBERTSAnd speaking as an evangelical, too often we endorse broader cultures sometimes, instead of being a path that's alternative, a path that's more biblical and truthful to how we treat others.
REHMBishop Mariann, how do you reach across to others who may be there at the cathedral, but to those who may have left because the views presented are sounding too liberal for them?
BUDDEIt happens. And it's not just the cathedral, Diane. I serve congregations up and down Maryland, in many communities where the values of Donald Trump's campaign might be something that they would support. I would say that the common ground for us is always our sacred texts and our sacred traditions and our core beliefs and values. And when we can speak that language to one another. And when people trust me that I truly am, like they, a follower of Jesus, committed to his path, committed to his truth, and I speak from that grounding, there's a lot of common ground that we can find. And even if we disagree on a particular issue or a candidate, we can find a place from -- a place to begin.
BUDDEThe harder part is when we come up against acts of real -- as you were saying earlier, Rabbi -- real acts of violence against groups of people, then we have to take a stand. And then we have to say, or I have to say, we are still here. And this Christian community stands with those who are being attacked. And those are the times when it might get harder in terms of where we might find ourselves up against a different issue.
REHMImam, how do you react?
HENDIWell, the Quran itself calls on me to resist evil with a better course of action. The Quran says that, word by word, when someone attacks you, you attack back with love and reconciliation. But also, when I see at Georgetown University, the rabbi of Georgetown University, Rabbi Rachel Gartner, and the Jewish community came to pray with us. The Protestant community, the Catholic community came and they prayed with us. So I tell my Muslim community, yes, we are being the target of hate and discrimination. The best course of action is to educate our fellow neighbors, reach out to our fellow neighbors, build the bridges with our fellow neighbors.
HENDIAt the end of the day, Islam teaches us how we can agree to disagree, without being disagreeable. We can agree to disagree on politics, on religion, on God, on the Day of Judgment. But we find ways to communicate with one another in a civil way.
REHMSo, Reverend Harkins, to you, where does the idea of unity fit in? How do you take a stand against what you see and know is unjust?
HARKINSWell, I think -- and I've been saying this for the last several weeks now -- that if the only response we have to those things that we will deem to be outrageous and wrong and unjust, and they seem to be coming with great regularity, is to be in a furor and run around with our arms up in the air, we'll be exhausted by the end of February. But I think what's coming to shape now -- and I think something at Union that we're doing more and more -- is really figuring out how to articulate what we do stand for that is just, that is morally right, that is compassionate.
HARKINSAnd if we can be grounded in that and doing those things, not appositionally to Donald Trump or the Trump administration, but because it's what we believe and what we stand for as people of faith, as communities of faith. If we stand for, you know, for example, there'll be a Watch Night service there in Washington, at the Metropolitan AME this coming December 31. And our friend, our scholar in residence, William Barber, who many people remember from the Democratic Convention, will be there with hundreds and hundreds of people, really figuring out how we, as progressive Christians, can make sure that our presence and our work and our witness is productive and not simply in opposition to what we don't like by way of who the president is.
REHMBishop Mariann, do you find more people attending church now perhaps seeking some kind of comfort -- no matter where they stand politically -- but seeking comfort and relationship within the church?
BUDDEI have seen that and I've heard it from others of my colleagues. And I think meaning is also something that people are hungry for, trying to get their bearings. And even neighbors on the street, who aren't churchgoers at all, stop me and want to talk about -- they're just grateful that we had an interfaith walk. They were grateful that we had a prayer service. There seems to be a longing for the religious and spiritual institutions to stay strong in this time and to be true to who we are.
REHMDo you find the same, Rabbi?
STUTMANOh, for sure. I find that, you know, Jews as a people we're always yearning to create the world in a way that it is not yet. And this past election has felt for many people like a giant step backward toward the world of justice. And so there is this desire for people to come together to try to figure out the next step forward. In the week right after the election, we had well over a thousand people come to different services that we had at 6th and I, which is a lot for us, in the course of the week.
STUTMANAnd for many of them, it was an opportunity to look for -- I wouldn't yet say that people were looking for hope, but that they were looking for solace. And solace in community, and in the language of a people that has seen pretty bad things over the course of our history and has withstood the test of time. So it's this ability to be together and to mourn together. I don't know about -- in Judaism there's a lot of talk about sitting shiva and all of the different rituals after a death. But then, ultimately, after you get up from sitting shiva, you have to return to the world as it is. And how are we going to return together, using the values that we hold dear as a way of making the differences that we know need to be made.
REHMBut surely not all of those who attended 6th and I voted in one way.
STUTMANSurely not all of them did. However, I think that there was -- certainly they didn't. But there were a tremendous number of people who did, first of all, who did vote for Hillary Clinton. But also there was just a certain amount of anger and disregard for what we consider core Jewish values in the campaign of Donald Trump. And so -- and the fact that so many Americans really voted for a candidate who didn't reflect what we consider core Jewish values, there were a tremendous number of people who were disappointed and incredibly sad.
BUDDEMay I speak to that, Diane?
BUDDEJust briefly, I -- what I sensed, and several people said this to me, living in the Washington area and perhaps -- I think, perhaps this area might have had a distinct experience, because there seem -- because, as you were saying, so many people work for the government and work for the good of government. And there was this collective grief that I experienced, not just in church, but a kind of -- no matter how you voted, it was a surprise. And that that implication was -- some way we're still dealing with.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show."
HENDII wanted to say that what the community is looking for from us -- all the communities -- a prophetic voice of reconciliation, a prophetic voice of justice for all, a prophetic voice of hope that can reconcile all of our differences, that can bring us for an optimistic, hopeful, moving forward.
REHMWhere is that likely to come from?
HENDII think that's likely to come from our clergymen and women, from all our clergymen and women, but also our politicians are required to stand on the pulpit and say, America is united.
REHMBob Roberts, do you agree?
ROBERTSI do. I was disturbed by -- I'm an evangelical -- and frankly I was disturbed at the amount of evangelical pastors that endorsed Donald Trump. I think it's great they voted for Trump. I'm not going to tell them they don't have the right to do that. But I believe the role of the pastor is to speak prophetically to power. I mean, when you get in bed with a political party, I'm only as relevant as that politician who's in power. I've worked with President Bush, President Obama. But I did so, not in endorsing, but in community engagement, in global engagement, and religious freedom. And I think we pastors, in attempting to grow our churches and to be relevant, we fail to speak prophetically.
ROBERTSWe know how to grow our churches numerically in the evangelical church. We don't know how to grow them spiritually. We don't know how to grow them culturally. We don't know how to grow their thinking. And that's critical for the world that we live in. We're at a massive shift. And if we make Trump or Clinton the issue, then we can speak to the issues.
ROBERTSWe can speak to the issues without endorsing or trashing candidates. I don't go there. But I do challenge the issues.
HARKINSWell, I'm going to be a little big of a countervailing voice here. I think you're right about speaking prophetically. But we in no way, shape or form can get to reconciliation if it involves the normalization of misogyny, of racism, of hatred, of Islamophobia, of homophobia. And the problem we have right now with moving toward reconciliation is that the very thing emanating from the president-elect are those things. So how can we get to a point of reconciliation, when the other side, if you will, is not in a position to want to reconcile as well? So I think that...
REHMBut, Reverend Harkins, don't you wonder whether he will take back those kinds of comments? He's already rolled back many of the things he said during the campaign. Don't you expect him to soften his tone somewhat?
HARKINSWell, I think a couple of things are at play there. I think part of his rolling back is because of the incompetence about what he'd proposed by way of policy in the first place and sees that it's just no tenable. But I think the issue is the nuance of what he promotes. In other words, it's not even as much of what Donald Trump himself does or says, but who he empowers -- those people who are putting swastikas on walls, those people who are grabbing hijabs off of women, those people who are moving back to the idea of a racialized America, a homophobic America.
HARKINSSo I think he's got to do not only just a matter of rolling back his policy ideas, as inept as they might be, but he's got to also disassemble what he's built in terms of this behemoth of a monster of hatred and phobia.
BUDDEThat's where the witness of love comes in, I think, speaking so profoundly as the Imam did that when Christians and Jews and Muslims and all people of goodwill respond to hatred with love, hearts are changed. And so that's part of it. It's not just coming together to find common ground. It's those transformative moments of cultural witness, when the entire country sees a better way. And we saw that with Dr. King. We've seen it in other moments when we are inspired to be our best, rather than to be reduced to our worst.
REHMMariann Edgar Budde, she is bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington. When we come back, we'll open the phones, take your calls. I look forward to speaking with you.
REHMAnd one slight announcement I want to make before we move on, for my last out on this air this Friday, I'm taking your questions. So if you would be good enough to record your question in a voice memo and send it to email@example.com, I would be delighted. And we'll do that for my last hour on the air, live, this coming Friday.
REHMNow I'm going to open the phones, 800-433-8850. First to Sandy in St. Louis, Missouri, you're on the air.
SANDYHi Diane, I was calling because -- I had to call in because I'm just incredibly frustrated with all of the, quite honestly, hypocrisy I keep hearing about no -- your concerns for people's views, and oh gosh, what is it that we have to -- all people, we have to respect their values. That was one of the quotes of one of the people on your show today.
SANDYFor the last eight years there had been no concern for the views of other people. There have been -- there's been no respect for other people's values. Republicans, conservatives, have been demonized if they disagree on policy because we're racist. And I know that's what you're thinking right now. You're thinking, oh, this is just a racist, homophobic, misogynist woman.
SANDYI'm really concerned about the fact that there's -- there has been no changing of people's -- trying to change people's hearts on the left. It's been shoving things down people's throats. It started with President Obama saying, well, elections have consequences, and we won, and we have to pass the bill before -- and, you know, Nancy Pelosi, we have to pass the bill before you can see what's in it.
SANDYThere's been no reaching across the aisle. It's been constantly, if you disagree on policy, you're evil. And that's what I've been getting from the left, and it's very frustrating to hear and see this kind of reaction because you're basically saying -- and you're just reinforcing the fact that there is no desire to listen to the other side. There is no desire to address their values or respect their concerns.
REHMAll right, I thank you for your call. Reverend Harkins, how do you respond?
HARKINSWell, you know, and we can go back and forth about political policy issues. I think about the fact that when George W. Bush was president, Democrats supported the efforts around the war, Democrats supported efforts around immigration, Democrats supported several other elements. When President Obama was president, we hear you lie from the floor of the House. So I mean, we can go back and forth about perceptions, and that's going to always be the ongoing conversation.
HARKINSThe one thing I will say, just to pivot back very quickly to the end of the last sort of segment when we talk about what's powerful in terms of moving us toward reconciliation, and I couldn't agree more than love is central and seminal to what I understand theologically, morally and ethically. But I also believe in what Martin Luther King said, that, you know, justice without love is harsh and unrelenting, but love without justice is sentimental and ineffectual.
HARKINSSo I think we need to really understand that while love speaks to the idea of reconciling with others, but we -- we can't relent on the need for justice. So I'd respectfully disagree with your caller in saying that there hasn't been that effort. I think people are quite entrenched and encamped where they are, and we just, as people of faith, we certainly have to keep moving toward some place of again reconciliation and some place of unification, whatever that looks like.
REHMPastor Roberts, would you like to comment?
ROBERTSI think she's right. I think that many on the right have felt marginalized by the left. But I think the right does the exact same thing to the left. And so my concern is that dialogue isn't really accomplishing what it needs to. We're entrenched, we're tribal and very tribal in our country right now. One of the things we try to do is to do engagement things. So like instead of telling Christians love Muslims, what we do is projects together with Muslims here in our community.
ROBERTSI learned something from a man named Rabbi Jonathan Sachs who's had a profound impact on me. He said you start with the hand, working together for the common good, which captures the heart, which then changes your mind. And the problem with dialogue, it all starts with the head. And so we're speaking to one another without relationship, without trust, and we disagree, and we wonder why.
ROBERTSWell, you have to be in relationships. So I think we're going to have to come to a different way of engagement. Talk is critical, but we need to be in relationship with how we're serving the common good of the city.
REHMTalk is critical, but listening is equally critical, Imam.
HENDIIn Judaism, you know, you'll read about (speaks foreign language) listen, oh Israel, our lord God, God is one, God wants Israel to listen. We need to master the art of listening to one another. That's number one. Number two, for me reconciliation and social justice go hand in hand. Yes, we need to reconcile, we need to listen to one another, but at the same time we need to agree that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We need to transform dialogue to diapractice. We don't only need to talk about our religions and what we need America to be, we need to practice that dialogue together, the right and the left.
REHMAnd Rabbi Stutman, the question becomes how.
STUTMANI think that is the question because listening, of course, is critical, but, you know, in Judaism we talk about verbs. They are never an end unto themselves, right. So the act of listening cannot be an end unto itself. It has to be a means to an end. And so when I hear callers, like the one who just called in, I do agree with he that I do think that people on both sides of the proverbial -- I don't even know if there is an aisle anymore but on both sides of the aisle are demonizing the other. And it is something that we at 6th and I are trying to work on in terms of reaching out to people who feel differently.
STUTMANInterestingly, we reached out to one of the local Evangelical churches in the hope of opening a dialogue, but we found what seems to me to be an incredibly progressive, liberal, left-wing Evangelical church. So we still have a little bit more reaching out work to do. But it is about the idea of what comes next. I think that listening to what is inside people's hearts, right, the feeling of fear and the feeling of uncertainty, which I think we -- is pervasive in America is what we need to get to, is listening deeper because I'm happy to listen to people who espouse ideas that I consider homophobic or misogynistic or anti-Muslim, but just listening to hateful voices is not enough.
STUTMANIf we -- if we can't figure out how to go deeper, we're not going to move very far at all.
REHMLet's go to Annandale, Virginia, Bill, you're on the air.
BILLOh, hello. I just want to address some of what seems like a lot of irrational fears that I'm listening to, whether it's climatephobia on the left, where they say, oh, Trump is going to destroy the Earth in 40, 50 years, or whether it's -- or it's some of the fears, irrational fears from -- that I hear from hijabs being pulled off. We're taught that we shouldn't prejudice Muslims for -- or think badly of Muslims for flying planes into buildings or shooting up a day care in California. Are the Muslims being taught not to fear non-Muslims for fearing their hijabs are going to be pulled off?
BILLI mean, there's -- if we're going to teach irrational fears, is it being taught on the people who think Trump is good, who hurt Muslims or destroy the climate?
HENDII want to tell my friend, Islam and the Muslim community are not responsible for the acts of terrorism. Terrorism has no religion. And when crazy Muslim does wrong, the entire community should not be rounded up as if they are to blame for what the crazy Muslim does. I do not blame the entire Christian faith or the Christian community for the act of a crazy Christian or the act of a crazy Jew, and therefore we must move away from those general statements that we make about a community that has contributed to America in every way, shape and form.
HENDIWe have contributed to its intelligence, its safety, its security, it's well-being economically. And therefore demonizing Muslim women who are doctors in hospital treating everyone that comes through their doors, demonizing Muslims who serve in the military does not help America. So we have to be fully united in speaking against Islamophobia not because it's against -- in favor of Muslims.
HENDIAny attack on -- on one Muslim is an attack on every Jew, on every Christian, but it's also an attack on our Constitution. So I speak in defense of our Constitution, not only of Muslims.
REHMBishop Mariann, right after the inauguration comes the Million Women March. Tell me what the hopes of that march will be.
BUDDEDiane, I would be the last one to know, not that I have -- because I'm not involved in it, although people from all across the country are contacting me for housing and places to stay when they come. I will be at the National Cathedral praying with the president-elect and all those who gather for the post-inauguration prayer service, which we just gathered to plan yesterday. So that's where I will be on the 20th. I will be praying with and for the president and his new Cabinet and all those -- and the country.
BUDDEAll faiths will be represented, at his request, and we will pray for the good of our nation.
REHMAnd where will you be, Rabbi Stutman?
STUTMANSo first I want to say to that man who spoke so beautifully. I am proud to be seated with you and also a little bit sickened that we live in a country where a religious faith tradition that carries with it a tremendous amount of beauty and love and justice, even as it also has its dark spots, as does Judaism by the way.
REHMAs does Christianity.
STUTMANFine, I'll only speak for my own.
STUTMANCan be maligned in such a way. So I do just want to say that. So on Saturday morning, which for us of course is also Shabbat morning of the day after inauguration, we will be having a gathering at 6th and I where we will be bringing together the Jewish community but also the Washington, D.C., community to sing together, to read from the Torah together and to talk together. And then we will go out and march as a community in honor of lifting up the voices of woman, all woman in our country and in our world and in honor of the fight for dignity and the fight for -- the fight for bringing together all the diversity of voices that make -- that actually are what make our country great.
REHMDo you expect men to be there, as well?
STUTMANOh, we hope. I'm going to be bringing my husband and my son, so I hope that we have a lot of men there. I hope we represent all of the gender spectrum at this gathering, and we really -- we really lift up all the voices that need to be heard.
REHMAnd what do you hope that lifting those voices will show the nation and the world?
STUTMANI guess there are a few things. First of all, I hope that they remind us not to sit and marinate in our anxiety and our fear. I think part of this is really just for us, to remember that we do still have a voice and a place and a path forward. And I think secondly it is important for the new administration and for America to see the fullness of the tapestry of this amazing country. We talk about -- I hate the image of the melting pot, I much prefer the image of the salad bowl, right, of all these different kinds of people who can come together as allies in important moments and share the fight.
REHMShira Stutman, senior rabbi at the synagogue 6th and I here in Washington. Bishop Maryann Budde, she's bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Yahya Hendi is Georgetown University's Muslim chaplain. Reverend Derrick Harkins, he's at Union Theological Seminary, and Bob Roberts, founder and senior pastor at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. I think you all for being with us.
HENDIThank you, Diane.
REHMAnd you're listening to the Diane Rehm Show. It is -- it is not over yet. We have another caller in Manassas, Virginia. You're on the air, David.
DAVIDThank you, Diane. First of all, let me thank you for establishing a forum in which conversations like this have been able to take place over the last many, many years, and I think this is really the lifeblood, for the lack of a better word, of a good, inclusive democracy that ultimately leads to the benefit of all of us in this great country.
DAVIDHaving said that, I think, you know, I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I voted on both sides of this presumed aisle that we keep talking about, and I do think there have been several points that have been made that are very valid, in that we have stopped in our ability to listen to each other, to engage each other and to -- and to have a productive conversation in which we can consider what is best for the country.
DAVIDI think this entrenched feeling has -- has progressively been increasing over the last many, many years. What I have found disturbing, I am a Hindu immigrant, but immigrant is tough for me to say because I came to this country back in -- when I was seven years old, in the mid-'70s. So I have felt as much a part of the United States as I could possibly feel, and I think what I have seen, over the last six, eight weeks or so particularly, has been somewhat disturbing.
DAVIDI'll give you a very -- one example that I think may answer...
REHMVery briefly, sir, we're almost out of time.
DAVIDSure. There was -- the day after the election in a high school locally, the Pledge of Allegiance was being recited, and everybody stood up. There are a set of students who pointed to Latin-, Hispanic- and Asian-looking students and told them to sit down, quote, this is not your country anymore, close-quotes, we have made a decision. That I find just fundamentally very disturbing. And since then what I've noted is that people that are either in the minority races or however you choose to qualify them have come to a kind of a subtle decision of not becoming involved in much of government or playing a key role moving forward almost with the conclusion that their opinion or their involvement or their contribution really doesn't matter, nor is it welcome.
REHMI find that to be a fundamental flaw in what I think could be a democracy that really needs to succeed. I think the -- what we need for this country is inclusiveness, not relegation. What's more disturbing is I don't know that that's really seen as a problem. That's why I wanted to see if that others in the panel have seen something along those lines.
HENDIYou know, for me I want in the years to come to be governed by politics of justice, economics of equity and covenant of community. I want us in the days to come, in the years to come, to listen to one another so that we may end injustice, so that we may promote harmony and mutual respect.
REHMThank you, what a beautiful way to close. Thank you all so much for joining us, and thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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