Summary: how Christians should make decisions before they vote
We are just weeks away from the presidential election, and I know there are many out there who agree with me that I wish it was over. But it is not, and the rhetoric is only going to get worse until election day.
For many reasons, this is one of the most important elections in this century. The appointment of up to three Supreme Court Justices, overturning Citizens United, and providing protection for women’s health are just a few issues that loom in the near future.
Mudslinging, scare tactics, name-calling, lies and promises that can’t be kept aren’t new in 2016. We are bombarded with ‘he said/she said’ and name calling twenty-four hours a day. Each side wants to make statements that will sway the direction we intend to vote. This happens in each U.S. presidential campaigns. Past campaigns show that, even when the political rhetoric gets outrageous, the checks and balances of our constitutional system support the democratic process.
Our nation is in a crisis; I believe we need a leader who can continue the existing progress and turn things around to provide security and justice and equality. In 2016, we will elect a new president in what many are calling the most important election in our nation's history.
But the question that is presented to us is how, as Christians, are we going to make a decision about who we will for. There are some basic tenets of the Christian faith that can help us make sound decisions.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Practice active listen skills; listen to hear what they say, not to have a return comment. Listen to all the candidates. Let them completely state their positions before commenting. Is their platform based on Christian principles of caring for the unfortunate, providing a leg up for those who are being oppressed? Are there defined plans of action to accomplish these goals, or only ‘lip service’ to economic equality and social justice?
Refuse to participate in the name-calling and nasty rhetoric. There can be no civil discussion when you engage in ‘trash-talking’. If someone starts being uncivil, quietly remove yourself from the discussion; there is no way information can be exchanged is one party is dominating the conversion. Defend the right of all people to speak their mind.
Be Aware of Bias
Much of this election campaigning has been consumed with bias, prejudice and racism. Carefully consider any rhetoric which demeans any group of people (women, LGBTs, disabled, immigrants). And remember that Jesus told us we will always have the poor (Matthew 26:11) and strangers (Leviticus 19:4) among us. Jesus taught us that everyone is a beloved child of God.
Consider What is Just and Right
Jesus’ consistent theme throughout His life was bringing love and justice to the world. . . justice and righteousness.
Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place." (Jeremiah 22:3)
Do the candidates value inclusiveness, caring for the less fortunate, or do they espouse bias, exclusion, prejudice and injustice? Do the candidates honors those who are different from themselves or treat them with disrespect?
We must pray for all our leaders and the candidates – pray that they will consider the teachings of Jesus in their lives and their elected function.
And if you feel so compelled, get out in the streets and do God’s work, campaigning for your candidate. This is a right of democracy.
And no matter what, no matter who is your favorite (or ‘none of the above’) candidate
WE MUST ALL GO VOTE!
It is the one time that the ‘government for the people’ can actual be determined ‘by the people’.
The Rev deniray mueller, Crossroads, Saint John's Episcopal Church in Worthington and Parts Adjacent, Worthington, OH; October 2016