U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX Dist. 30) and members of the Dallas faith community met Tuesday for an annual prayer breakfast, where they encouraged people of different backgrounds to come together and help heal the nation.
Johnson has helped organize the prayer breakfast every year since her days as a Texas senator, noting that she and other leaders are always in need of prayer -- particularly now, as they navigate through deep division and partisan politics.
She invited several Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist leaders from North Texas to attend and deliver remarks.
"I truly believe the real leadership in our communities begin in our churches," said Johnson. "What people believe, how they react to each other is usually is based on some kind of religion...And here we can see how we're all intermingled and all interwoven in some way in our lives. And all of us usually have a common goal."
Unity was a common theme among the speakers, who encouraged the public -- and political leaders for that matter -- to reach beyond their own communities / belief systems, to hear and try to understand people with other perspectives, and to show love and compassion as opposed to anger and hate.
When asked if there were lessons Congress could learn from the speakers, Johnson responded with an emphatic "yes" -- and admitted that even she has "not fullfilled all she'd like to" on that front.
"We have a great diversity -- and I think that's what America is all about," said Johnson. "But I'm not sure that we even take the time to listen to each other enough on that basis ... It does have to come through communication -- the mixing of cultures, mixing of people, so that everyone can get to know each other."