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Asking the Clergy: Counsel for those disappointed by the presidential election

From left, Bob Yugi Festa of Huntington, Isma

From left, Bob Yugi Festa of Huntington, Isma H. Chaudhry of the Islamic Center of Long Island and the Rev. Joseph Garofalo of Island Christian Church. Credit: Barbara Festa; Islamic Center of Long Island; Courtney Laub

Now that Election Day has passed, some are celebrating, while others are unhappy with the results — and perhaps fearful of the future. This week’s clergy discuss how faith can help process a loss, unify a divided nation and teach compassion for those on the other side.

Bob Yugi Festa of Huntington

Zen practitioner

The Buddha said, "Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things." Whether we realize it, all things in our world are subject to the principle of impermanence. All things that we know are in a constant state of becoming.

Mark Twain said, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes." The Buddha said something similar about our lives and the things we experience. In the "Four Noble Truths" the Buddha said that we suffer and are dissatisfied because we are strongly attached to our life, the lives of those we love, our possessions and our beliefs. The latter is what is at stake in an election. If you are not happy with the outcome, remember, nothing stays the same, and this too shall pass.

The Buddha said that there is no independent and permanent self, so those that you disagree with are likely part of the support structure that helps you sustain your life. We must learn ways to accommodate the "other" and work with them for our mutual benefit.

The Rev. Joseph Garofalo

Outreach Pastor, Island Christian Church, Northport

The sourcebook in my own life and as counsel to others is Holy Scripture. In all of life’s circumstances, we can glean much wisdom and comfort from God’s word — yes, even concerning the matter of leading our nation. For example, Romans 13:1-2 says: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."

It is because God instituted the governing authorities, we must continue to pray that God’s will be done in the leading of the nation. This is regardless of whether your candidate won. The caveat is when those in authority act in violation of God’s will as determined by the Scriptures — including those who break the law of the land (Acts 5:29). Remember, there is no authority except from God — whether our leaders realize it or not.

It is ultimately the Lord who is still on the throne and we must trust in that! May that be our source of peace.

Isma H. Chaudhry

Board of trustees chair, Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury

This year has been tumultuous. In the midst of COVID-19, we are hit by economic turmoil, racial discord and hateful rhetoric, which metastasized into racism, nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. On the political landscape, differences of opinion and the effect of the catalytic impulses of hate divided our nation.

During times of turmoil, we look at spiritual and scriptural fortifications. Without compromising the rights of expression, the dark impulses of acrimony need to be tamed to accentuate the light of love and empathy. We have to clear and forgo the fog of egos, to see God’s attributes in humanity. Humility and patience are the first steps toward change with our intertwined futures as common denominator.

We have to indulge in deep reflection, refocus and make a conscious choice of compassion, love, and humanity over hate and division. Quran 49:13 says, "O mankind We created you from a single pair of male and female, into nations and tribes; that you may know and not despise each other." Quran 3:103 tells us, "hold firmly to the rope of God and do not be divided."

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS you’d like Newsday to ask the clergy? Email them to LILife@newsday.com.

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