My moral imperative

Generally I’ve tried to stay away from being overtly political on this blog. But I have to speak today. I have been around for a number of elections; some of them have had a lot of controversy, but this is the first one that really scares me.

There have been various articles and op-ed pieces trying to convince me to vote this way or that because I fit a certain demographic. Sorry…but just because I belong to a specific group, that doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily going to vote a certain way.

However, I do have moral reasons for my vote…my moral imperatives, if you will.

First, I am a follower of Jesus. There are some scriptures that he lived by and that he is quoted as sharing with his followers that shape my beliefs:

…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

[When asked which commandment was the most important, Jesus said] “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22:39

[In another teaching to his followers, Jesus said] I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:35-40

When I look at the two major candidates and the things they stand for, I have to look at them through these prisms. That doesn’t mean that I am going to agree with everything they say or stand for–but when I look at the history, I find that my choice is clear.

I’ve read–as have most of us–the constant attacks and accusations about what Hillary Clinton has done (or not done). I’ve read the responses from a variety of sources…and I find little to support those accusations. Has she made mistakes? Sure…but who of us hasn’t? Has she done things I disagreed with? Absolutely! Are there things she wishes she had done differently? Yes…but hindsight is always clearer.

Robert Reich has given a valuable overview as to how our perception of her has been shaped.

There have been seven (7!) investigations of her actions in the Benghazi tragedy…most of them Republican dominated–and yet there has been nothing that she can be held responsible for. Were there mistakes? Absolutely, and they resulted in a tragic loss of life.

And then I look at Donald Trump. I see a man who has insulted all members of a particular nation…who has proposed a ban on all members of a religion…who seems to see women only as sex objects…who has reneged repeatedly on contracts…who has mocked those with disabilities…who has been caught in repeated lies but not admitted any of them…who says he upholds “traditional values” but whose marital and business history would imply otherwise…

I cannot go there.

I do not see love of neighbor…or dealing justly with others…or loving kindness…or supporting actions that will benefit “the least”…

And…on a personal level, because I have loved family members who are part of the LGBTQ community and because I attend a congregation that has become part of a welcoming network…I find my choice clear. Our welcoming statement includes these words:

We believe that we all need God’s unconditional love and grace, that all are of worth and all are welcome, and that no person should be denied this. All are welcome here with open arms, minds, hearts, and souls. We are all children of God! We celebrate the diversity of human life and believe in the respect and dignity of everyone. We value the diversity of economic status, social class, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental ability, cultural identity, and ethnicity. We promote the full inclusion of all people to a place where they can share in community without fear.

If I truly believe that, how can I vote for a candidate who has denigrated the respect and dignity of those who challenge him? who shames people for their physical ability…their ethnicity? How can I vote for someone who–rather than helping to create a community where people can share without fear–seems to thrive instead on creating distrust and division?

If you have read this far, thank you. I know that you may not agree with me, but this is my moral imperative. I find myself saying “Here I stand. I can do nothing else.”

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