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UCC General Minister and President Responds to the USA President


Hello! I’m the Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General
Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. I am part of the religious tradition that
our President referred to as “the other side.” So are many members of the church that I serve. Now I am not prone to speak on their behalf, because
I support the right of all members of the faith to speak for themselves. In this case, though, I feel that I am on
solid ground in saying to our President: “Ahem – we are big believers in religion.” Now you may call us progressive – and with
good reason. And you may call us liberal – and with good
reason. You may call us radical (we like to say we
aren’t radical, we are early) – and with good reason. But you should not, Mr. President, call us
“the other side.” We like to think that both left and right,
both liberal and conservative, both radical and traditional citizens are true Americans
and can be people of faith. You should know that our teachings and beliefs,
though they may differ from yours, are held not in spite of what our religion teaches
us but because of it. Caring for the immigrant and the refugee,
fighting for health care for all, educating our children, feeding the poor and loving
all God’s children are all things we learned while practicing our religion. Whether we voted for you or not, whether we
support your political choices or not, whether we call ourselves Democrat or Republican (and
in my particular religious body, we have members who fit all those categories) – we are Americans
with the capacity to worship our maker and practice our faith as one, in spite of our
differences. Our hope and desire is that you would embrace
the differences that make us a greater country. Trying to force people into a belief structure
consistent with your own is about as un-American as it gets. I would invite you to hearken back to the
words of one of your predecessors, who in 1858 and before serving two terms in your
office, wrote this: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” It is heartbreaking to me and so many others
that you, our President, are feeding division upon which we cannot stand. Speaking on behalf of all sides, people of
faith and people of no faith, left and right, I invite you, Mr. President, to unite rather
than divide. Please do not refer to any of the people you
lead while in office as “the other side,” and for God’s sake please do not then say
something as ridiculous as “They’re not big believers in religion.” Our long history as a people practicing our
faith would suggest otherwise.

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