Faith and politics discussed at ‘First Wednesday’ forum


by Cait Conner

In his opening remarks, guest speaker Mark Farr, former president and chief executive of The Faith and Politics Institute posed a question to the crowed: “What is America?”

Some replies from the audience included: People, culture and a land to make your own opportunity.

Around 85 members of the Simpson community gathered on Wednesday afternoon in Lekberg Hall to listen to Farr’s lecture about his work in faith and politics.

Farr has had 25 years of experience in political and civic public service in both the United States and the United Kingdom. During this time, Farr has faith-centered events and meetings between Republicans and Democrats.

Farr said he believes that there are building blocks such as the Bill of Rights and the Constitution; however, the essence of America can be defined by the simple statement, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

From his work in Washington, Farr said he has witnessed great division between the two political parties in the United States. Current politicians were not going to solve the problems that were happening in the government, Farr said.

“They’re cooked; they cannot change,” Farr said.

Farr believes that if you want the government to change, you have to reach out to the new generation who will take over the government. It is important to keep your viewpoints, but still have a conversation with the other person who has a different viewpoint, Farr said.

“Politics is about relationship, not about structure,” Farr said.

Though in the world of dividing politics, Farr noted that there is a new actor that plays a key role in the average American’s life: the online world.

The online world has separated us further. We can connect with other individuals; however, we are not really connecting with them, Farr said.

The Farr lecture was the beginning of Simpson College’s First Wednesday program where a Forum event will be hosted on the first Wednesday of every month.

Upcoming events, include: The McBride Lecture and a lecture by journalist Charles Fishman on Oct. 3 and the Watson Lecture with Patricia Calkin’s on Nov. 7.