Opinion: Breaking barriers

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Senator Joseph Lieberman stood tall in the center of the Marriott Center court as an icon of political power.

Little did we expect by the end of his address we would see him less for the politics he practices and more the spirit by which he lives.

Listening to him speak about the importance of Sabbath day observance we nearly forgot he spoke from the perspective of a different religion — that he spoke of a completely different day.

Students at BYU don’t often get the opportunity to hear instruction from members of other faiths. In the few chances they do, it’s not normally about religious topics.

Before the BYU population stood a man who succeeded in melding his religious life seamlessly with his political life.

Neither one suffered for the other; in fact, his religious convictions seemed to enhance his political aspirations.
Isn’t that the job of BYU students? They must be prepared to go out into the world and share their talents without losing their religion.

“The combination of faith, which leads to hope, good values and hard work, leads to a good result,” Lieberman told the students. “My [faith] has given me foundation, order and a sense of purpose in my life.”

This is something all people at BYU can relate to — faculty, staff, administration and student alike.

Through our faith we have a foundation, through our school we have an education. Now, as Lieberman reminded us, it’s time to “go forth and serve.”

This brings us to an important point — though we believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the most complete church today, we can still learn from those of other faiths.

Lieberman proved this point during his address, but others like him can lead us to greater truths.

Take, for example, an old man, bent from age, waiting in a nursing home for someone to talk to. He may not share your religious convictions, but if you open your mind, we’re sure he has a lot to share.

Or maybe it’s your teacher — though it may not be common to have a teacher of another faith, it’s not as rare as some may believe. Their experiences can teach you, can help you grow.

Lieberman often worked with those of other faiths, he often spoke — as he did Tuesday — to those of other faiths.

“Though we were of different faiths,” he said, “we were joined in a classically American style by a shared belief in God.”

He is right.

So many times we think we are different because we are LDS. So many times we may give up an opportunity to serve, to teach or — most importantly — to learn because we feel unusual and strange.

What sorts of opportunities do we pass up when this fear gets in our way?

Differences are a necessary part of life. Imagine if we all believed the same, spoke the same and thought the same.
Even within the Church we feel differently, we act differently and we talk differently.

Many approach religion in a taboo way. Many fear it, assuming it will destroy their dreams or make others think poorly of them.

This is not true. Lieberman taught all of us this.

“When I first ran for office … I made an early decision that I would never be involved in politics on the Sabbath,” he said. “I can tell you over time as they realized I was giving these answers … as a matter of religious observance and belief and that I was doing it consistently, they accepted it and respected it.”

We appreciate Senator Lieberman for taking the time to come and teach us. We appreciate his example and the humble way he spoke and acted.

We urge all those at BYU to listen to his words, to not be blocked by political or religious differences.
Just because someone thinks differently doesn’t mean you may not have something to learn from them.

This editorial represents the opinion of The Daily Universe Staff and not necessarily that of BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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