Politics and religion can be a deadly mix, but the amount of negative energy being generated during this election season is staggering and it’s having a detrimental effect on all of us. As a minister and as a follower of Jesu I feel the need to speak to this.
It’s impossible to log into a social media feed without being assaulted by a seemingly endless barrage of lurid memes and fake news articles attacking the various POTUS candidates, especially if you’re like me, and have friends from all over the political spectrum. The amount of garbage spewed from all directions is truly amazing.
Why do you support your candidate of choice? Are you voting for someone based on his/her own merit (experience, policies, positions on issues, etc.) or are you buying into the hyperbole generated by the campaigns and the media? If you dig enough, you’ll find some pretty nasty stuff on every one of them.
To paraphrase a favorite verse of evangelical Christians, we’ve all missed the mark, sometimes pretty spectacularly. So, here’s my challenge to you and to myself:
- Figure out what issues are most important to you and your position on those issues. Which issues are deal-breakers and which can slide?
- Come up with a way to state why you support your candidate, based solely on that candidate’s positions and policy proposals or their and/or their party’s platform (which, interestingly, aren’t always the same). Not an easy task, and I’m learning that I see merit in all of them, much to my chagrin.
- Go to the candidates’ Web sitAs folowes and ask the same. Also, check the VP candidates. Keeping in mind that people do change their minds on things, does the candidate’s past history indicate support of their stated position? (Remember to include the so-called third party candidates. You might be surprised at what you learn.)
- Do the same at the party Web sites. Do the platforms match, more or less? How do they differ? How are the same?
- Compare the candidates/parties side by side.
These are just a few suggestions to help jump start the process for you. It’s hard work, but government of, for, and by we, the people needs to be a more thoughtful process than memes and sound bites.
Negativity isn’t good for anyone, and I hope this can be a help in generating some positive momentum.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors and he was very clear that everyone is our neighbor, even those who are different from us and those we don’t particularly like. St. Paul reminds us of the importance and preeminence of love. He also reminds us in his letter to the Galatians
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.Galatians 5:19-23a, New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (Bible Gateway)
May God grant us wisdom to discern what is good and honorable and help us to burn with passion for a truly free free and just society. May God bring healing and peace to our hearts and minds and grant us strength and solidarity of purpose. May God who is found in all things grant us zeal for righteousness and truth, and may the One who gives life to us all help us to grow in love, through Jesu the Christ and the Holy Spirit, Three-in-One and One-in-Three, one holy and blessed Trinity, now and ever and unto Ages of Ages. Amen