Taylor Auditorium was filled with a mixed crowd of old and young at the Center for Peace and Spirituality co-sponsored event on April 6. All eyes locked on Sister Simone Campbell as she spoke about the intersection of faith and politics and how her own journey as a nun on the bus reflected upon that role.
Campbell presented herself as a sister of social service who cared passionately about civil rights.
“I saw Jesus and Justice both starting with ‘J’ and thus went together,” said Campbell. “You cannot separate the gospel stories from the issues regarding justice.”
Reflecting upon her journey, Campbell realized that she could not promote public policies that advanced the common good alone. She discovered that hope was a communal virtue. A place that is found with others, in which according to her, is the journey that we are all engaged in.
According to Campbell, there are two things that are critical in the intersection of faith and politics. Rather than fighting with the ‘other side,’ we have to articulate what is currently happening in the world. What Campbell noticed during the bus tour and in the community was that we needed to first share a vision and then move toward something that is creative and energizing.
“We should be fighting for an alternative vision, not against one another,” said Campbell.
This year, Campbell and the NETWORK organization are doing business with round tables in Washington D.C. working to help articulate a vision for the society that is the 100 percent. She defines the 100 percent as the 99 and one percent of society combined.
“We are trying to enable a vision for society, for those that currently work to create the wealth, also get to participate in the wealth.”
Last year, Campbell and the organization almost achieved the issue on immigration reform. The Republican speaker would not bring up the topic, causing a set back.
“Immigration is the glory of our past and hope for our future,” said Campbell. “The Constitution says ‘We the People of the United States,’ and we have that amazing opportunity to live faith in the public square. We the people that will make the difference, that need to risk tough conversations.”
In quoting Pope Frances, Campbell mentioned that the key part to building peace is to have everyone at the table and move forward together, doing it because of faith. According to her, it is in leisure that faith is nourished. She acknowledged that faith is a challenge to all of us to be our best selves, in which knowing our part is the challenge.
“Leadership is to engage challenging work of talking about real issues in our time, and that comes from here in the U.S., in the world, in Pacific University, to create pressure to get the congress freed from fear of ‘the other’,” Campbell said. “Students at Pacific have the chance to make our union a more perfect union by doing grocery missionary work or radically accepting everyone. It’s the vision of the 100 percent and recovering the pre conceptualization of ‘We the People.’”