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Interfaith leaders said they wanted to show unity in a polarized political world.

Religious leaders said they expect to hear a about power, money and conflicting interests in the coming days.

Spiritual leaders from across the state joined together on Tuesday to offers prayers, support and well-wishes to legislators as they kicked off the 85th legislative session on Tuesday.

Representatives of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Sikhism took turns sharing messages of hope and peace, and called for service, wisdom, justice and unity among state representatives.

The “service of public witness” has been held at the Capitol on the opening day of each legislative session since 1973, according to Texas Impact, an interfaith social action network that hosted the event.

The service began with a Muslim call to prayer and included blessings from Sikh and Jewish clergy.

Bee Moorhead, executive director for Texas Impact and the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, said the event is an important sign of unity in a polarized political world.

“One of the most disturbing things about our most recent political cycle to people of all faiths has been the extremely fractured nature of our communities,” she said, “how we’ve siloed ourselves into smaller and smaller compartments and have less and less sense that we have anything in common with each other.”

Moorhead said she expects to hear a lot about power, money and conflicting interests over the course of the session.

“We’ll hear a lot about ways that we are different from each other, and we’ll hear people try to make each other scared of each other, but the faith community has a different message,” she said. “It’s the message we’ve all shared as long as we’ve been people together on God’s Earth and that is: We’re put here to love each other.”



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