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Faith Communities Reflect on a Post-Trump Future

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Thursday, January 21, 2021   

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As a new administration began its work, faith leaders said there is opportunity for religious communities to tamper down on extremism and work toward peace and unity.

Many supporters at the Capitol insurrection appeared to be fueled by religious fervor, displaying signs with Christian imagery.

Some were participants in the Jericho March, a gathering of Christians rallying for election integrity, and some shouted slogans that appeared to equate former president Donald Trump with Jesus.

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches, explained extremist views of Christianity have existed since the country's founding.

But she noted there have always been Christians who have fought for democracy and social justice.

"There were always Christians who stood up in the face of demagogues, and we're going to make a difference the same way we always have," Copeland maintained. "We're going to be faithful to the call of scripture to love God and love neighbor."

In a series of tweets yesterday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper congratulated President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The governor also thanked the 300 North Carolina National Guard members who assisted with inauguration security.

Rabbi Fred Guttman of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro said North Carolinians of all faiths feel more compelled to work toward promoting bipartisan healing in the post-Trump era.

"In terms of trying to combat all sorts of hatred, bias, bigotry and racism, as well as anti-Semitism, and coming together to reaffirm our commitment to justice, love, compassion and peace," Guttman explained.

A poll by the Anti-Defamation League found 53% of Americans say Trump holds significant responsibility for the violence at the Capitol.

Copeland added a majority of Christian leaders were appalled by the insurrection.

"If people are faithful to the call of God, to love God and love neighbor, then you're going to have good neighbors," Copeland described. "Did you see anybody that was in this rioting crowd of people who stormed the Capitol who had any real concern for their neighbors?"

According to a Pew poll conducted earlier this month, 64% of voters expressed a positive opinion of Biden's conduct since the November election. Trump exited office with an approval rating of 29%, and negative ratings of his conduct after the Capitol Hill riots.


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