Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give. – Senator Cory Booker, on his Facebook page, April 24, 2012
New Jersey may have a loudmouth Republican governor, but they also have one of the coolest Senators in the United States, newly elected Senator Corey Booker, a Democrat, formerly Mayor of the city of Newark. Unlike a lot of other senators, Booker leads a clean lifestyle. He exercises and eats only vegetarian cooking. He has no vices or addictions except “coffee and books.” And he is very practical about his spirituality. For him, it’s a “show me” thing. The New York Observer called Booker “The Spiritual Senator.” Booker is Protestant Christian, but his best friends from his days of studying at Oxford University are… Hasidic Jews, Rabbis, even. Booker was even asked to serve as president of a Jewish organization at Oxford. He knows more about the Jewish faith than most non-Jews do.
Booker has made a study of comparative religions on his own. He has studied the King Japmes Life in the Spirit Study Bible, The Qu’ran, The Tanauch (the Hebrew Bible), Chumash (a printed form of the Torah), and The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, an interpretation in English of the Hindu holy book. Given the opportunities Booker has had to compare faiths, it’s no wonder that he has adopted a practical philosophy of life with respect to religion. Show me, indeed! And in that sense, I think Booker really walks his talk.
A while ago, Booker took on a food stamp challenge, in which he tried to eat on the amount of money a food-stamp recipient gets for one week’s worth of groceries ($4 per day). The eye-opening exercise helped to give him a feel for how many of his constituents live from day to day.
“But what has me profoundly humbled is that this is a week – just a week – and then I’m done and can (and will) throw out burned food. But millions of Americans are living with food insecurity, with worry and concern about affording food – healthy, decent food for their families and children,” he tweeted.
As mayor, Booker invited victims of Hurricane Sandy into his home and saved a neighbor from a dangerous kitchen fire.
In the past, Booker went on record as saying that he was bothered by gays, but as Mayor of Newark, he officiated at a gay wedding ceremony at Newark City Hall as soon as they were legal. When he came to the part where he had to ask if there were any objections, a protestor jumped up and shouted that the ceremony about to be performed was not right in the sight of God. Booker had the man removed, then said, “”Not hearing any substantive, worthy objections, I now will proceed.”
It will be interesting to see whether Booker can manage to turn his spiritual principles into political victories in the future. So far he seems to be able to walk his talk very nicely. Way to go, Senator Booker! 🙂