is a special election issue. I
truly believe that nothing matters more at this moment than that we Americans
get this election right and early voting will begin in some states next week. My prayer is that we can get beyond partisanship,
and I have struggled with if and how to talk about our collective future in a
way that honors a bi-partisan spirit while not neglecting the role of the
church to speak prophetically in perilous times. What I settled on is below—a link to an article by a
card-carrying Texas conservative explaining his decision to vote for Obama and
my e-mail response to him. This is
my personal reflection and does not represent the views of either the United
Methodist Church or the Massachusetts Bible Society.
As a Bible
passage to convey the sentiment, I turn to Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor
free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
First, here is the
link http://www.dmagazine.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?nm=Core%20Pages&type=gen&mod=Core%20Pages&tier=3&gid=B33A5C6E2CF04C9596A3EF81822D9F8E. The title of the piece is “A
Conservative for Obama” and it is written by Wick Allison, editor-in-chief of
D-Magazine, which covers the Dallas, Texas area. It appeared in D-Magazine this month.
Here is my e-mail to
Dear Mr. Allison,
Thanks so much for this piece, which I found through a friend's link on
Facebook. I'm a Massachusetts liberal clergywoman, so voting for Obama is
a natural for me. As a Democrat, I'm naturally pleased to see a
conservative recognize the strength of this ticket. But I appreciate your
piece on a much deeper level than the vote it represents. Shortly after
9/11, I began to notice that my friendships with Republicans were strained.
Issues that were once fodder for a fine debate shifted into a litmus test
for whether I was a traitor to our country or not and, most painfully, whether
or not I was truly a Christian. I realized I was falling into a rabbit
hole, down to a universe where intelligence and critical thinking were reasons
to disregard a person's opinion and where torture was the mandate of God for
our enemies. When I said otherwise, my faith and my patriotism were put
on the chopping block.
During Bush's first term, I was angry, and while I saw clearly through
the lies about Iraq, I didn't notice that I was swallowing the lie that such
behavior was what it meant to be a Republican. As the interminable Bush
years wore on, however, and some Republicans began to speak out, my eyes
cleared a bit. We have not had a Republican administration over the past
eight years. We have had tyranny. With that realization, I began to
mourn not just the loss of my friends, but the loss of the Grand Old Party.
I remembered that there used to be real issues to debate about the role
of government and how to balance state with federal authority. There were
substantive differences in discussions about trade and corporate practice and
whether workers themselves should become a corporate counter-weight through
participation in a union.
I remembered those differences because my parents were Republicans.
Republicans who fought with all they had to allow the first black family
to move into our all-white small town and into our all-white church. They
were Republican teachers who did not join the union at the high school where
they taught and who worried long into the night about whether to cross the
picket line when their friends went on strike. (They didn't cross. They
served coffee.) But by the time that my mother was being diagnosed with
Alzheimer's a few years ago, the neurologist came out of her exam and said,
"Well, she did pretty well on the quiz. She couldn't name the
current President (Bush) but that's because she wouldn't let his name cross her
lips!" I remembered that, in the days when it was not treasonous to
debate substantive issues and patriotism meant more than wearing a flag pin,
sometimes I had been swayed by the particular package brought by a Republican
and had voted for that ticket.
When John McCain won the primary, I initially felt some relief.
"At least the days of torturing people are done," I said to
myself. I thought that perhaps there would be a real choice between a
Democrat and a Republican. Unfortunately, that hope faded and was finally
nailed shut with the choice of the inexperienced theocrat, Sarah Palin.
Now I go to sleep with the anxiety of Thomas Jefferson as he said,
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice
cannot sleep forever."
But, when I wake up to find thoughtful conservatives like you, willing
to speak out to a flock of listeners that I cannot reach because I'm a liberal
in Massachusetts, I have this...ummm...audacious hope. A hope that, if we
can send both this administration and the ideological tyranny it represents
packing, perhaps the Grand Old Party can recover its roots. Maybe the
division will melt into difference and Republicans and Democrats can once again
be both friends and sparring partners. Maybe it will again be acceptable,
even desirable, to have an education, read books, and be able to articulate the
complexity of global issues. Maybe I will no longer have to apologize for
my nation when I travel overseas. Who knows? I might even wear a
Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness and for your conservatism.
As I vote for Barack Obama in this election, in my own odd way I am
voting for Republicans...for the one person who can give the Republican party a
chance to recover its standard so that in future elections there might be real
choice, real debate, and real democracy.
Those thoughts are
not particularly religious, but they are very much a part of my faith. There is nothing more important this
November 4 than that you go out and vote.
And with something that important, there is nothing more important prior
to that event than prayer.
by Anne Robertson, 2008
you’re on Facebook, be sure to send me a friend request and download the
Neverending Bible Quiz application.
There’s also a group for the Massachusetts Bible Society and playing the
quiz will help MBS!
The new Massachusetts Bible Society website is now live. Visit us at www.massbible.org and click on a building
to enter the site. Enjoy!
SpiritWalkers is available in audio as
a podcast. Visit www.annerobertson.com/poddevotions.html to subscribe or to listen online.
Be sure to check out my books:
Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box and God’s Top 10: Blowing the Lid Off the
Commandments. Order now on Amazon.com or check local bookstores.