Honest discussions - even and perhaps especially on topics about which we disagree - can help us resist hypocrisy and arrogance. They can also help us live up to the basic ideals, such as liberty and justice for all, on which our country was founded.
But I warn my colleagues that we will fail in our efforts to protect the homeland if we do not take additional steps to avoid a trade-off between protecting ourselves against terrorists attacks and preparing for and responding to natural disasters.
Congress needs strong parties, but it also needs the capacity to deal with budget and entitlement challenges that are likely beyond the reach of pure partisan exertion.
The impending teacher shortage is the most critical education issue we will face in the next decade.
We pass bills authorizing improvements and grants. But when it comes time to pay for these programs, we'd rather put the country's money toward tax breaks for the wealthy than for police officers who are protecting our communities.
Unified party control of the organs of government has proved no panacea.
What drew me to both study and activism was the formative experience of the civil rights movement.
I am struck by the fact that personal faith and political agendas are intertwined more closely now than at any other time in recent history.
And so we go over the cliff fiscally, and our Republican friends try to pin the blame on discretionary domestic spending, including spending for security. We pass budget resolutions that fall far short.
We simply must do better.
I believe we must seek God's will, never presuming to identify it with our own program or power.
I have also come to understand Congress' need for a bipartisan as well as a partisan capacity.
Goodness knows the Republican electorate is a pretty narrow slice of the population.
Personal faith can be a powerful force for public good.
Our country's political discourse and debate are enriched by discussions of the political implications of our faith traditions, whether they are taking place in our communities, at our dinner tables, or in our places of worship.
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