Religious zealots choose to cherry-pick scriptures to find the “authority” to condemn those who do not share the same racial heritage, sexual orientation, national origin, faith expression, political party and social economic status.

I am a retired clergyperson. I served the United Church of Christ for over 40 years as a local church pastor, an associate conference minister, on national committees and as a church camp manager. I celebrate the gift of God to creation in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I find meaning, purpose and a self-identity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I traveled a faithful, professional path with God I celebrated the religious principle that my God is called by many names in other world religions. Christians, Jews and Muslims find common ground in a shared scriptural commandment of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” Luke 6:31. We walk with God, called by different names, down differing paths of understanding of what the same God wants from us.

Unfortunately, zealots in all religions, fearful of losing a sense of “self-righteous” authority, claim their path as superior and singularly unique. This attitude was articulated in Roy Moore’s non-concession speech to Alabamans on December 13. He proudly declared that his brand of Christian morality is the only true expression of what God wants for everyone. By definition, its tenants condemn other religions, races, gays, lesbians, transgenders, migrants, “Demoncrats” and “Repugnians”. Expressions which preach inclusiveness, tolerance, equality, civility and support a “rainbow coalition” are, by his definition, inherently heretical and evil.

Synonymous religious teachings found in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures and the Islamic Quran call us to embrace a life filled with service, justice, humility, charity and peace. God “has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does God require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8. Religious zealots choose to cherry-pick scriptures to find the “authority” to condemn those who do not share the same racial heritage, sexual orientation, national origin, faith expression, political party and social economic status.

As a forty-year servant of Jesus Christ, my personal Savior, I am convinced that a careful and through examination of the His Gospel will assist and embolden us to resist the insidious disease of hate and division that now pervades our society. We need to earnestly seek to understand the journeys of others in our nation and the world.

On December 12 a majority (albeit slim) restarted a renewed journey with God. They want to make “Alabama and by extension America Civil Again”. They boldly told diversionists, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, who sow a “diatribe of hate and division” that in the United States of America all races matter, women matter, children matter, LGBTQ communities matter, diversity matters. Let us pray for those who agree and disagree with us.