Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughts on the Election of Obama

This week, we witnessed with awe an extremely significant moment in history as the first African American was elected to the presidency of the United States.

I don’t wish to discuss partisan issues, and I affirm differences and disagreements as a healthy part of life. I do not believe either major party is entirely right or wrong, and Christians vote faithfully for different candidates based on the Christian values most important to them. But no matter who we voted for, I’d like to suggest that we pause and do two things.

First, we are called to support our president whoever that may be! I have said this after every election for all the years of my ministry. The new president is our president and we support him with fervent prayers, open minds, and willing hearts. It is important to give witness to our Christian faith by working together, even with those whom we disagree. The strength of a democracy is that candidates fight and debate hard, out of desire to serve the country they love. When the people have spoken, it is time to put fighting to rest and come together as one. If we don't, we don't really trust in the purposes of democracy, do we? I encourage you to express your discomfort to others who might continue negative rhetoric, including rhetoric against those who lost.

Second, let us take note what has happened here historically. As I shared many weeks ago in a sermon, it delighted me that no matter which way the election went, an important glass ceiling would be broken. One has been broken indeed, in a nation with a very difficult story of race relations beginning with our original sin of slavery. This is a defining moment that I would lift up regardless of which party won the White House.

My Wednesday night Bible study mused about this the day after the election. Some could personally remember when it was illegal for women to vote. Others recalled the poll tax and other prejudice practices which prevented elections from being fully inclusive. Still others, like me, were born later than all that, but born in Alabama during the Civil Rights movement when the injustice of segregation was addressed with a great deal of pain and passion. For most of our lives, it would have been very difficult to imagine this day.

I love our country very much. For me, part of that love is honestly recognizing its struggles as well as honoring its accomplishments. I believe this election is a significant historical event in the life of our nation, and I pray that it helps in the healing of some very old pain as well as giving those historically less privileged a renewed sense of hope. We can be prouder than ever to be American.