Why these faith leaders want religion to play a bigger role in global politics

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, right, member of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Yoshinobu Mlyke, center and Abdullah Al Lheedan, left, during the photo group at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Sep 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — World leaders today share a growing list of complex problems, and yet the leaders seem to be getting worse, not better, at working together, according to Rowan Williams, the former head of the Church of England.

“What we see is not a movement toward greater justice … but greater fear, division and inequality,” he said during the opening day of the G20 Interfaith Forum, an international gathering of religious leaders and faith-based social activists from the world’s 20 leading economies.

Faith communities can help reverse this trend, Williams and other religious leaders said, addressing how to be more unified in the face of issues like climate change and the global refugee crisis. Ahead of the G20, or Group of 20, annual meeting in Argentina later this year, they’re asking secular politicians to pay more attention to people of faith.

“At a time when our politics becomes more and more divided and polarized, when the defense of national boundaries literally and metaphorically becomes the one thing that many political leaders care about, our religious traditions say we are not permitted by the holy God we serve to forget about any portion of the human race,” Williams said.

Gustavo Garello, For the Deseret News
Member of the G20 Interfaith Forum pose for photographers after a meeting as part of the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.

The G20 Interfaith Forum is aimed at bridging the gap between faith groups and political leaders, speakers said. Participants hope to help policymakers choose hope over fear and to showcase what’s possible when people in different religious communities and countries work together to care for those in need.

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