It Is Finished, Now Apologize

It is finished, at least for now. Now that the election is over, we need to talk. This might hurt, but it has to be done.

Some time last week I stopped to listed to a sermon from Tommy Nelson at Denton Bible Church about this presidential election. In the middle of the sermon, he outlined what he called “three points of conscience this election deals with”:

  1. Abortion
  2. “Sanctioning of sodomy (or gay marriage)”
  3. Religious liberty to resist the above

He was also clear what he thought were not matters of conscience that were relevant to this election:

  1. Foreign policy
  2. The economy
  3. National defense
  4. Healthcare 

I had to stop the video because I could not believe what I was hearing. To me, blowing off trade, foreign policy, gender issues, race issues, and the economy was the epitome of some kind of privilege. So many people of faith and people not of faith see these things as matters relating to conscience or faith. 

A few days later, in an unrelated conversation, a family member of mine outlined his three primary political concerns that were shaping his vote. I responded with my own. Our lists were different but, though we were planning on voting for different candidates, our lists overlapped at points. It got me thinking about the diversity of people in this country and the wide variety of their concerns. Americans did not only choose different candidates, but those who chose the same candidates may have chosen them for different reasons. 

Though not all concerns are equally valid, or moral, we need to pause for a moment and consider that other people may not be stupid, but they may simply be using a different measuring stick to make their decisions. 

While I think Mr. Nelson was wrong to push his particular concerns on his congregation, apparently those were his personal priorities in this election. I can identify with his concerns about religious freedom even if I am ecstatic about the state recognizing same-sex families. I am also troubled by abortion, but I am happy to see abortion rates on the decline and relish any increase in life even if it is not accomplished by criminalizing the practice.

We have all, to some degree, failed to listed to others in this election. Many of us have passed on lies when we should have known better. We have unfriended people on social media. We have called vast swaths of people, who we made little or no effort to understand, stupid or, at best, ignorant.

We all need to apologize with our mouths and listen with our ears, or we may be right back here again in four years. 

To that end I invite you to share three of your concerns that drove you in this election. Take a look at the concerns of others, not to criticize or correct, but to understand. The election is over. What’s done is done. It is time to start healing. I look forward to your lists!

*The image featured in this post is Capitol at Dusk 2 by Martin Falbisoner / CC-BY-SA-3.0*

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  1. My top three political concerns are probably:

    1. Preserving both religious liberty and separation of church and state.
    2. Reducing violence carried out by the state.
    3. Removing penalties and barriers that disproportionately impact poorer people.

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