MONTHLY HERALD MESSAGE
From the November Herald
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I remember when then Senator Barack Obama addressed the United Church of Christ General Synod
in Hartford in 2007. Though his message had little to do with his possible election, some people
thought the UCC should lose our tax-free status, claiming that we were advocating his election.
Actually, he was invited to speak before he’d announced his plans to run for president, UCC leadership
was able to prove that, and the whole mess went away.
There are many churches and pastors who will stand behind one candidate or another and tell their
congregations for whom they should vote. It is difficult for me to believe, given the independent
nature of our denomination, that they should give their pastor that kind of power, but there are areas
of the country and certain denominations where the pastor is held in that much esteem. While I take
my position as your spiritual leader seriously, I think it would be immoral or perhaps even illegal for
me to use any influence I might have to try to sway your vote.
However, there are issues at stake which demand a moral response. What our response may be is
largely determined by our faith perspective. Many years ago, before I even attended seminary, I
remember a member of the congregation I attended expressing his position on an issue, and saying
hat he thought that everyone in the church would agree with him. I didn’t agree with him, but I
didn’t tell him that. I liked the man. There were arguments in his favor. But there were also
arguments against his thinking, and those arguments seemed more important to me.
My point is, we are never going to agree on every issue, as a faith community or as a nation. There
are dire predictions for what will happen if the Democrats win. There are dire predictions for what
will happen if the Republicans win. There are dire predictions for what will happen regardless of who
wins. What is important for us is that we keep the faith: our faith in God, our faith in our church
community, our faith in each other, our faith in ourselves; and then to let our faith determine our
course of action.
I don’t look at this as a matter of separating church and state. If you are a disciple of Christ it is who
you are. You are not a set of little compartments comprised of your political party, your role in your
family, your role in the workplace, your participation in your church. You are a Child of God, called by
God to do the best you can to determine what is right and good and true.
And so get out and vote!