Invocation: Interfaith Religious-Liberty Event at First Baptist Church of Orlando
By James Coffin
God of wisdom, power and compassion, we are gathered at this interfaith event this evening because, as our nation’s pledge of allegiance declares, we are committed to ensuring liberty and justice for everyone.
We claim as our right the freedom to follow the dictates of our individual consciences. But we also accept as our responsibility the obligation to ensure that one person’s or one group’s exercise of freedom doesn’t negatively impinge upon the freedoms of those who consciences dictate alternative approaches.
We recognize that our U.S. society is highly diverse. We acknowledge that our respective worldviews at times explain in radically different ways not only life’s ultimate realities, but also the resulting sense of moral obligation that flows from those realities. Thus we’re committed to ensuring that our public policies protect the rights of everyone, whether they be the rights of the majority or the rights of a multitude of minorities.
May our discussion tonight, and any actions that might flow from it, ever keep in mind the Golden Rule. May we be concerned not only about pursuing approaches that are advantageous to our own group, but may we also face squarely our responsibility to ensure that we treat others as we would want to be treated if the tables were turned.
This is our need. This is our desire. This is our prayer.
James Coffin is executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.