“Repairing fractures in society”

Joe Biden © Carolyn Kaster

High-ranking representatives of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities joined together Thursday to pray for new U.S. President Joe Biden and his deputy, Kamala Harris.

The service at the National Cathedral in Washington was attended by the largest number of virtual prayers. The live stream showed Biden and first lady Jill Biden in front of a screen at the White House. The choir sang with masks. The tradition of a prayer service the day after an inauguration dates back to the first U.S. president, George Washington, in 1789.

May God give courage to Biden and Harris, prayed the founder of the evangelical community "Sojourners", Jim Wallis. Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church prayed for the understanding that all people depend on each other.

Protestant pastor William Barber, founder of the Poor People's Campaign organization, said rich and poor people live in different worlds in the U.S. God will "hear our prayers as we repair the fractures in society". Barber had supported Biden's candidacy.

Second U.S. Catholic president

Joe Biden is the latest to be named to the House of Representatives, according to John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) the second Roman Catholic president. He has often stressed his faith guides him through difficult times. According to Religion News Service, Biden has nominated numerous Catholics for ministerial positions, including Deb Haaland (Interior), Lloyd Austin (Defense) and Xavier Becerra (Health).

The president of the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Jose Gomez, had ared Wednesday he was ready to work with Biden. Gomez warned, however, that Biden advocates measures that threaten human life and dignity when it comes to "abortion, contraception, marriage and gender".

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, distanced himself from Gomez on Twitter. The latter had made his "ill-considered" statement without the usual "collegial consultation". Criticism of Biden has surprised many bishops, he said.

Southern Baptists call for prayer

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, called for prayers for Biden. Southern Baptists concerned about "protecting life, promoting prosperity for all and preserving religious freedom," Greear said. He prays that God will grant all this with the help of the new administration. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant church in the U.S.

Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who is close to ex-President Donald Trump, warned in a sermon of increasing government prere on believers who did not conform, according to the Christian Post information service. He also criticized the new U.S. administration's position on sex-change operations, same-sex marriage and abortion. God, however, was in control, and there had been "no panic in heaven about the election".

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