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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “At the intersection of faith, politics”

    Chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Richard Elias, speaks to the congregation of the Wesley Methodist Church on Park Avenue regarding the importance of faith on political decisions Wednesday evening.
    Chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Richard Elias, speaks to the congregation of the Wesley Methodist Church on Park Avenue regarding the importance of faith on political decisions Wednesday evening.

    While thoughts of government and religion may conjure up the oft-used phrase “”separation of church and state,”” one campus ministry is out to show that faith and politics do indeed go hand in hand, like bread and wine.

    Richard Elías, chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 5 representative and Catholic family man, was the first speaker in the Faith of Our Leaders sermon series invited to speak to students about faith mixed with politics.

    The First United Methodist Church on campus is hosting the series, which is open to students of all religious denominations.

    “”It’s about realizing that, for students, their faith is more than just Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights here at collage, but that their faith is going to stretch when they become adults in the work force,”” said Dee Dee Azhikakath, reverend at the First United Methodist Church. “”And their faith is going to stretch when they are in every aspect of their lives. So this (sermon series) just highlights those who are leaders in the community and also how their faith affects their decisions.””

    Spiritual faith is not the enemy of politics, but rather one of many factors taken into account that affects everyday decisions, Elias said.

    “”I think it’s important for students to understand that religion plays a part in everything we do,”” he said. Politics is just one of those things.””

    Elias shared scriptures and stories about undocumented immigrants dying while crossing the desert into the United States.

    Azhikakath said she liked how scriptures can guide leaders by asking, “”What would Jesus do?””

    “”I think it’s really good to see that our leaders think of these things,”” she said. “”When a leader believes that there is a higher power than them, you get a different type of leader. Whether you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindi, you have a god that you answer to and scriptures that you are guided by.””

    Besides being a guiding force in everyday life, religion builds a solid basis for character, Elías said.

    “”I think having a strong religious foundation is a good thing. It makes your work harder sometimes, but it also brings you to a broader understanding of the human condition,”” he said. “”The important message for students is as people of faith, we have to understand religion’s role in decision making, and how we vote and who we vote for.””

    Kristen Belt, an elementary education and media art junior, who heard about the series through an e-mail, said she was coming to more of the series’ sermon.

    “”Social justice issues should be part of everyday religious activities,”” she said.

    After the sermon, Sarah Luke, a social work freshman, reflected on how the event had supplied her with a interesting viewpoint, she said.

    “”It’s a unique perspective, and it’s just a lot of good information,”” she said.

    What students should take away is that “”their faith should go with them in all the decisions they make, everywhere they go,”” Azhikakath said.

    The next speaker is the Southern Arizona Methodist district superintendent Oct. 8, followed by Tucson mayor Bob Walkup Oct. 15.

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