From the Rector
Voting: Proper 25B
I voted this past week. After chatting with a few candidates for various offices outside in the parking lot, each seeking my vote and eager to talk about issues, I stepped up to a voting booth with one of my daughters at my side and participated in our democracy.
I don’t take it for granted that you will vote, though I very much hope you will. Last week I watched sportscaster and social commentator Dale Hansen talk about all the reasons why had hadn’t voted in 46 years, and it reminded me that the tens of millions of Americans who won’t exercise their right to vote this fall aren’t all necessarily just apathetic or lazy. Some simply can’t be convinced that their vote matters, or that any candidate speaks for them, or that anything will change, regardless. I’m grateful Dale decided this was the right year to resume the practice, and I very much hope, even if you have also declined to vote in recent elections, that you will follow his lead. As Christians, we have a duty to hope, and that means we can’t let cynicism govern our decisions or actions.
My zeal for voting is something bordering on religious. I say that because the root of the word “religion” is connected to the words “bind” and “ligament.” And voting is one of the ways we are bound together as a society, because it is a fundamental way we participate in a local, state, and national life that aspires to the common good. History shows that we have not always done a good job selecting our leaders, but I do believe in what is possible when we silence the voices of hatred and fear, resist the pull of nationalism and demagoguery, and instead choose to listen to the “better angels of our nature,” as Lincoln said to conclude his first inaugural address.
My voting is informed by my Christian faith, as I trust yours does for you. My loyalty to the Lord of Life inspires me to support policies and people who promote life, from womb to tomb. That informs how I view issues like education, immigration, healthcare, gun control, criminal justice, the environment, and the economy. And it is ultimately that Lord who is my hope and salvation, not a political party. As one of my contemporary heroes Shane Claiborne recently tweeted, “As Christians, our politics are not Left or Right, but centered on Jesus. Our allegiance is not to a donkey or an elephant – but to a Lamb.” Which is why I don’t vote straight party ticket, but cast votes for candidates across parties, depending on their alignment with my understanding of core Christian values.
I prayed before I voted, something I hope we’ll all do, and I’m praying still. I’m praying we select leaders who are trustworthy and wise (James 3:17-18). I’m praying for our bitter divisions to heal, and for God to take away the arrogance and hatred that infects so many hearts (BCP, 815). I’m praying that all citizens of this nation would work for the common good, and not simply their own. I’m praying for those who have experienced success in our nation, and for those who are desperate to start new lives here. And I’m praying for a renewal of our national commitment to liberty and justice for all (BCP, 821). Yes, pray we must. Pray and love.
See you this weekend.