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TEXAS FAITH: What words of religious faith should politicians really hear and heed?

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Dick Thornburgh, former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. attorney general, gave a speech last month entitled “The Role of Faith in Public Service.” In it, he said not only that his religious faith was important to him as a lawyer, governor and cabinet member under two presidents – but also that he tried to keep “a particularly instructive passage of scripture” in mind. It was Micah 6:8, a well-known passage for many Jews and Christians: “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”

In his speech, Thornburgh explained why he tried to keep that particular passage in mind.

As a prosecutor, Thornburgh said the idea of justice meant making a good-faith effort to combine the toughness necessary to govern with a compassion for people in need. Of kindness, he said: “This admonition encompasses the highest claim upon those of us in public life – that of assisting others.” As for walking humbly, that sometimes means admitting when you’re wrong.

Every faith and spiritual tradition has its verses, phrases, expressions, central ideas. The Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, Tripitaka, myriad religious texts and spiritual beliefs – each has what Thornburg calls a “particularly instructive passage” providing guidance for people in public life.

The Faith Panel took up the question —What single passage from your faith tradition would you recommend to elected officeholders and those who advise them? Their answers were varied, similar, extraordinarily diverse and amazingly consistent.

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

"Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 3.21

People require leaders who can lead by their practical example. A leader who smokes cannot teach his followers not to smoke. Therefore honest persons do not take the position of leadership without first behaving above moral scrutiny. A leader must not only be an exemplary example but also their leadership should be guided by transcendental wisdom. If the leader does not have a complete understanding of the self he will not be create a peaceful situation. For only the self-realized are peaceful and satisfied.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.