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A Call to Action: Progressive Christians Defend the Vote

 

A lot of us are overwhelmed by the very high volume of this election.  And this isn’t just about a certain candidate’s decibel level.  We’re talking about the inner volume of political narratives roaring through our minds.  We need to prepare spiritually for the likely electoral debacle ahead.

The Jesus Prayer is a powerful means of drowning out the noise of the election in our heads:  “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me…”  Sing it aloud, then repeat it in silence, as you take a walk.  It works.  Of course, the mantras of other religions work just as well:  “Sri Ram, jai Ram, jai jai Ram Om…”  “Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha….” 

As faith communities, we must prepare – spiritually and practically – to do our part to defend democracy between now and January 20.  There is nothing partisan about demanding that the fully-counted votes of citizens, and not partisan machinations, determine the outcome of the election.  Hold the Line offers a clear plan of messaging and non-violent action to defend the vote: I suggest that all pastors read it and commend it to their parishioners.  Faith in Public Life is offering workshops online for faith communities – on media/messaging, nonviolent civil action, and de-escalation.   Our faith leaders’ statement on election integrity is still gathering signers.  Dust off your congregation’s vinyl banner and get ready to march with it:  to know when and where to take nonviolent action on the streets, join Indivisible: this organization, in coordination with others, is preparing to mount the largest demonstrations in the history of the country.

Progressive Christians have a very important role in this struggle.  We are theists who oppose, for theological reasons, the theocracy that a minority is imposing on our country.  We are a moral voice for election integrity.  We hold up voting as a sacred expression of the dignity and worth of each citizen.  We wave the American flag and we follow the Christian cross, but we make a clear distinction between the two.  We don’t want “Christian nationalists” running our country.  We have the spiritual conviction to be forthright about our demands, and at the same time we are spiritually-centered peacemakers inspiring calm in volatile situations, modeling the kindness that we want to prevail in the policies and personalities of our government.

So let’s be ready to mask-up and get out there in the public squares, the social media spheres, and all the other realms where this struggle must play out.  From our virtual pulpits, let us preach boldly.  Let us chant our prayers, publicly display our faith identities, and join our friends of all or no religions in defense of democracy….

Rev. Jim Burklo
University of Southern California
Weekly blog:  MUSINGS

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