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Sen. Coons discusses faith during political division

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s junior Senator recently discussed how his faith has affected his work during this time of political division.

In a Face the Nation interview over the weekend, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) joined Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) to talk about the Senate’s Wednesday morning prayer breakfast. 

Since the 1950s, a bipartisan group of Senators has met in the early hours once a week to pray, sing hymns and discuss religious issues both public and personal. 

Coons says among other things it helps Senators be more open about working across the aisle. 

“If there is something that I think is core to everybody who gathers at this prayer breakfast, it’s an interest in kindness, in humility, in patience and to listening to each other,” said Coons. “That maybe something that is rare here in Washington, but, frankly, that’s one of the attractions of spending at least one hour a week together where we, sort of, put the tools down and stop trying to hit each other so much.”     

Coons says the current divisive political climate surrounding the impeachment of President Trump has strained his friendships with some republican senators. He adds praying for Trump, a fellow Presbyterian, has been one of the greatest spiritual challenges of his life. 

“We've had a conversation about his treatment of refugees and his blocking folks from coming to our country and the so-called Muslim ban that [President Trump] enacted right when he was elected. And we've also had a conversation about abortion and reproductive rights,” said Coons. “And I think we vigorously, vigorously disagree on both. What we haven't had is the time to really have a thoughtful conversation.”     

Coons and Lankford are each former chairs of the prayer breakfast and recently passed the title off to two different Senators—one republican and one democrat.

A trial in the Senate for the impeachment of President Trump is expected early next year.

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