Turn event of controversy into event of love

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s appearance at the Pierce County Prayer Breakfast last Friday was surrounded by controversy that could well destroy this annual breakfast after 36 years.

As emcee of the event, I thanked God that we live in a country with freedom that allows us to have different opinions, freedom to disagree, freedom even to vehemently disagree.

I acknowledged that our mayor and some members of the Tacoma City Council elected to exercise that freedom. I do not agree, but I respect their decision.

I and the trustees of the event held no ill feelings, no animosity toward those exercising their freedom to be absent. I was sorry that we did not have a greeting from the mayor of the City of Tacoma. I extended an open invitation to the mayor and City Council to be our guests at next year’s breakfast.

I reminded our audience of the scribe in the Bible who asked Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I also reminded those present that love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails. There are in the end three things that will last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Then I proposed that immediately, in the depth of our hearts, we turn this breakfast from an event of controversy to an event of love.

I closed by saying that I would be happy and excited to meet at any time with our mayor and City Council members, not to debate, not to try to change their minds, not to have them try to change my mind, but to establish a bond of love.

This bond of love would be built by having eye-to-eye communication with a foundation of love, based on the above discourse from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. It would foster respect, openness with one another and civility. It would allow us to agree to disagree. It would allow us to seek the truth.

I found Chief Justice Moore to be a very intelligent and articulate man with a strong belief in the sovereignty of God. He articulated very clearly his positions and gave the audience the basis and reasoning for his positions and decisions.

Moore told me he would talk to anyone and everyone and would answer any question. He remained in the lobby of the exhibition hall doing that until the last person left. To be able to speak directly, ask any question, discuss any issue with eye-to-eye contact was one great reason to attend the event.

Maurie Laufer, a retired tax accountant, is vice president of the Greater Tacoma Christian Laymen’s Outreach, hosts of the Pierce County Prayer Breakfast.