Churches try to close partisan dividePublished 10:15pm Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Separating church and state was temporarily suspended Tuesday.
“A divided nation needs to be able to come and pray together,” Father Kevin Covert of Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church said of the election night service without music he and new St. Paul’s Episcopal Church rector Father Carlton Kelley put together.
“The reading from Romans brought me right back to when I graduated from high school” at the end of the 1960s, Fr. Covert said. “Even then, there was a war going on. What else is new? It was a war of necessity against godless communism and, as stalwart citizens of our country, we needed to answer the call. We were sheep and our shepherds were calling us.”
Fr. Covert grew up in New Jersey, though his family is from New Buffalo, where his father was mayor. He questioned teaching “mindless obedience to authority,” left the church in high school and got involved with anti-war politics and Buddhism at Quincy College in western Illinois.
“One of the great disappointments of modern Christianity is the focus on who’s going where after you die,” Covert said. “We get lost in that. The foundation of Christian life is to share our lives we create for a different kind of world. What was incredible about Paul was communities he formed that challenged the empire — not by force of will, not by scaring people with tactics or swords — but by creating something new.
“Jesus Christ gives himself to us and sees goodness in us. Even as we reject him, torture him, reject him and crucify him, he still sees goodness in us. We need to appreciate what we are as a nation, overcome our differences, somehow come together and create something new despite tension. To become what we create, to pray for what we create and not be afraid to challenge it, but not out of vengeance or a desire to wreak havoc. We need mercy and to love — not condemn.”