Diane Randall: A civil and productive discourse will emerge, out of necessity

We asked Diane Randall of the Friends Committee on National Legislation to consider what 2018 will mean for religion.

RNS asked some of the country’s top faith leaders, scholars and activists to consider what changes the religion landscape will see in 2018. Find all their predictions here.

(RNS) — The testimonies of Quakers call us to live with integrity and simplicity and to work for peace and equality and to seek an earth restored. We want our lives to speak to the belief that there is that of God in every person. 

2017 saw a wave of increased activism from millions of people across the country who made their voices heard at unprecedented levels. They showed up at congressional offices, town halls, sent emails, and jammed phone lines. People were moved to act by moral concerns and deeply held beliefs about the values and vision of what this country should be.

Faith communities came together in powerful ways to amplify the scriptural teachings that inform these critical questions about the common good, the role of government, how we treat each other and our earth — from welcoming immigrants and refugees, to assuring people have health care, to protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink. The commitment to economic and racial justice, human rights, diplomacy and peace are essential to Quakers. This aroused passion for social justice will grow in 2018.

We are at a moment in time when the power of prophetic witness is sorely needed. How will we love our neighbor without exceptions? From preventing war with North Korea to ending U.S. military support that fuels the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, we will speak out for peace and human rights. From pressing for permanent and just solutions for Dreamers to assuring the support of the federal government to assist struggling families pay for health care, housing and food on the table, we will advocate for people who are poor. The public is looking for leaders to articulate a direction for this country that is just and compassionate.

This means we will speak truth with love. In an atmosphere of anger and hateful rhetoric, we seek to fill the void of productive and civil discourse that people around the country are thirsting for. Our values and objectives remain the same regardless of who is in power or the political climate.

(Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The views expressed in this opinion piece are not necessarily those of Religion News Service.)