A Clergy’s Pondering of Politics and Elections

I think over this last year or so I have been on information overload, and especially over the last couple of months. I am referring to the Presidential campaigns and other political offices that were vying for our votes through print, email, internet, television, and even door to door volunteers. One of the struggles of course is sorting out and discerning for oneself what is true what is not, what is partly true, and what is just silly, mean, and even evil.

I researched as best I could and voted like many or all of you based on my best opinion of who I thought represented the ideas and ideals I hold to be important for my city, state, and our nation. TruDee and I sat nervously watching Tuesday evening as the returns came in and some of those I voted for won election and some of those I voted for did not. I stayed up late that night intending to hear the two Presidential candidates speak and was only able to keep my eyes open through one. I watched the other the next day via video on one of the news channel’s websites. I thought both candidates were gracious to one another and did our nation proud in the way they conceded and/or accepted the election paying honor and tribute to one another and encouraging us all to work together in moving our nation in the right direction.

As a person of the Christian faith and as a member of the clergy I want to share a couple of observations about responses and follow up comments I have read and listened to since Tuesday evening. I have witnessed much humility on the part of both sides of the aisle which gives me hope for cooperation and willingness to work together. That being said, I have also seen much cynicism, anger, arrogance, and judgment leveled by both sides of the aisle in the aftermath.

I want to comment on some of what I have encountered and share my viewpoint. There has been comment about the idea that minorities in our society played a huge role in the outcome of the election. Some see this as good and encouraging some disparage it by belittling and judging those minorities. Reading the comment of a news person made me think about that idea, about the shift and change that he sees as a result of this election. He said, “’It’s not a traditional America anymore… the white establishment is now a minority.” Actually I see that as a good thing, truly reflective of who we are as a nation, a nation of immigrants. I believe it is our diversity that makes us strong; it is our willingness to exist differently yet work for the common good of all that should be the ground of our being.

I have also read comments that speak of God’s sure judgment of us as a nation because we have somehow turned away from God and the recent election is evidence of this turning because we are a Christian nation. There has been critique of our President when he has said we are not a Christian nation, and I agree with him, citing we are made up of a very diverse religious and non-religious landscape. There is and should be a clear and defined line of separation between church and state! I am a Christian. I serve in a Christian church. But that fact should not give me any more access to rights than my friends who are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan, and Baha’i, as well as others who I love, cherish, and respect; they have the right to be represented in our great nation just as much as I.

I have been dismayed by disparaging comments made toward democrats and republicans in the midst of this recent campaign. It is unfortunate at best and tragically unjust at worse to level words of hate, bigotry, and even violence toward those who disagree with us. Just because we disagree on what we believe is best for our nation and the candidates we support does not automatically make one lazy, bigoted, stupid, greedy, and hell bound, it does mean we disagree but sometimes it seems we have lost all ability to be civil, respectful, and engaging.

One last word regarding my opinion of the role of our representatives in local, state, and federal government; you are elected to represent all of us. I expect the people I vote for to have what is in the best interest of all of us as their clarion call. It doesn’t matter if ones country of origin is Libya, Iran, England, Mexico, India, Africa, China, or the United States. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual, straight, rich, poor, male, female, young, old, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan …your voice deserves to be heard in these United States, and you deserve the same rights and access to freedom and liberty as anyone else. I believe that is why lady justice wears a blindfold.

Just some ponderings, observations, and opinions from one who prays our nation can once again find the courage and compassion to seek common ground for the good of all. It is my prayer we move ever forward toward a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice for all; a nation where compassion, kindness, love, humility, and respect are the rule rather than the exception.

Peace and Light, Love and Laughter…
Pastor Kent

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