Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Our government makes no sense, unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith - and I don't care what it is. - Dwight Eisenhower
Or, looked at from the other direction: A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. - Gandhi Most of you agree with Eisenhower (a Jehovah's Witness) and Gandhi (a Hindu). Good. This, alone, gives me great hope. The question posted here for the last few days was: Should faith inform your vote? - 72% of you said you try to incorporate faith teachings into your political decision-making - 18% of you said you never mix your church and your politics - 9% of you said you don't know enough about your faith or your politics to answer the question I was among the 72% who try to hold onto the teachings of my faith as I examine my choices for elected leaders. I lean heavily into Jim Wallis' book, God's Politics (http://www.sojo.net/blog/godspolitics/) to guide me through political seasons and politician reasonings. Wallis reminds us, first, that God is not a Republican or a Democrat. He then suggests that we "measure candidates by: - whether they enhance human life, - human dignity, - and human rights; - whether they strengthen family life - and protect children; - whether they promote racial reconciliation - and support gender equality; - whether they serve peace - and social justice; - and whether they advance the common good rather than only individual, national, and special interests." Zowie...that's a lot of legislative voting in the Senate to review. Especially if you're examining a 26 year record (Senator McCain's). Perhaps that's why the political spinners have isolated a few loud and hot topics to define the "faith vote." One in four U.S. adults is considered an evangelical voter. The historical issues for these voters are abortion and gay rights. When the list of issues expands - as it has in some evangelical circles this season - still missing are peace, social justice, gender equality, human dignity, the common good. Instead we find add ons like euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning. Is it easier to define gaps on these matters than concern for the poor? Grief over war? Equitable distribution of economic gains and losses? We must think for ourselves on things that are important to us. The spinners and headline writers and debate question-writers should not be defining our issues. But, oh...it is so muddy. Because once we define our template for casting a faithful vote, we still can't really know with factual certainty what we're getting, can we? This presidential campaigning, debating, proclaiming and pontificating is determining something of a "virtual president"...isn't it? Every answer to every question posed is a hypothetical ,"If I were president blah, blah, blah." What happens when the unions are striking, the red phone is ringing, the Congress is cranky, and the approval ratings are in the tank? What then Mr. President-to-be? Will you cast your lot with the poor and marginalized? Will peace be your first and last plan to success? Will all Americans be treated with fairness and dignity? Bottom line, people of faith...we are looking for a like-minded decision maker. Someone who we believe in simply by looking at what he has lived, how he has lived it, what he has learned from it, and who he trusts now. Because we all know, when the going gets tough, Mr. President - like all of us - will fall into the "ground zero" of his gut to find the answer. Maybe we should find out how the candidates treat their pets... The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. - another Gandhi gem There's a new survey posted. A PhD student at Indiana Univeristy thinks he can predict how you'll respond. See if you can make his mother proud. Sleep well. And, peace.
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