Last night, millions of Americans tuned in to the final debate of the 2012 Presidential campaign scene. Now the election is upon us, and we as people of faith must seek God’s hand over this critical moment in our nation’s history. As Pastors, we are not in the business of telling people who to vote for, but we do have a responsibility to highlight the issues that will advance God’s Kingdom in the world. Scripture plots a clear path for our private lives, but also for our political world. Here are the most important points for Christians to consider as they head to the polls:
We must build a more just nation that can advocate for a more just world. The prophet Amos indicted the people of Israel: “For I know how many are your transgressions…you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate (Amos 5:12).” In all the discussions about job creation, food stamps, and regulatory reform, this must be the main question in our minds: are we treating each other right, are we promoting integrity, and are we taking care of those who need a hand caring for themselves? Jobs need to pay a living wage, leaders need to be committed to the people they serve, and we must protect the most vulnerable citizens among us, whether they be poor, infirm, disempowered, or disenfranchised.
The fate of healthcare reform in America. There is a powerful story in the Gospel of Mark about the woman with an issue of blood who had been suffering for twelve years. She had seen many doctors, and she had spent all that she had, but she was actually becoming more and more sick. In a desperate moment, she reached out and touched the cloak of Jesus, with the simple prayer that she might be made well. She was healed instantly (Mark 5:23-34).
Many in America have shared the desperation of this woman. While the healthcare reform act is only the tip of the iceberg, it is a huge step towards realizing the miracle of healing not just for one desperate woman in Mark, but for all people around this country. The pledges that some have made to gut this law and repeal it should be taken seriously and rejected.
Investing in the education of our people. Scripture teaches that we ought to love God not only with our heart and soul, but our mind as well. Jesus was able to teach the world so much not just because he was inspired by his Heavenly Father, but because he was a student of the Jewish tradition and the world in which he lived. Back in his day, scholars memorized scrolls; in the 21st century, it is science and technology, but also cultural fluency that will make the difference in whether or not we can fully step into the victorious life that God wants for all of us. One of the least discussed issues in this campaign has been the continuing progress towards real education reform. It takes an investment, a commitment, and a plan that puts everyone around the table.
There is much more to talk about when you consider the situation in our nation and world. But nothing that lasts is built overnight. This election will have a permanent impact on the direction of this country for many years to come. There are two weeks left and the race is very close. Pick a candidate, get involved, and be counted. And let us pray that God’s will is done.