Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Does America “Have a Prayer?”

I’m just one among many Americans who are disappointed with the presidential candidates of both parties in Election 2016.  I’m also just one among those who have chosen not to vote early and who are praying for specific evidence that God will move in the hearts of both the American people and the candidates.  I have expressed some thoughts on the election in two previous articles in Oikonomia (See links below.).

Perhaps you are also disappointed and discouraged about the candidates.  It will not be the first time that we’ve had a choice between candidates that have been alleged to have had immoral relationships.  Both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson come to mind.  Nor will it be the first time that presidential campaigns have conducted unlawful acts to favor their election chances and then lied about it.  Both Richard Nixon and Barack Obama come to mind.  I should hasten to say that the misdeeds of previous presidential candidates is no justification for excusing the character flaws of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  However, today Abby and I were blessed to attend a rally featuring a political leader who appears to have passed the character quality standards of all who know him well.

Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence, in Ashland, Ohio
Speaking at a campaign rally at Ashland University, Ashland, OH, Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, Vice Presidential candidate and running mate of Donald Trump, must have observed the expressions of concern and yet of hope on the faces of the over 700 people who had come to hear him speak.  Pence’s words were intended to encourage voters:  I encourage you to have faith. Have faith in the American people.

Then, Pence quoted Donald Trump’s words spoken earlier this week in Gettysburg, PA:  We need to rise above the noise and clutter of our broken politics and embrace the great faith and optimism that has always been central to the American character.

It seems that both Pence and Trump have been thinking much about faith.  But we were especially encouraged when the VP candidate addressed faith with these words:

If you have a mind to, exercise that other kind of faith.  You know, I recognize this is a challenging time in the life of our country.  It seems like we are more divided today than any time in my lifetime.  Seems there are so few great causes that unite us as they once did.  But, in much more challenging times, the American people have gone to a well to draw strength, and I think we ought to be going there again.

After a rousing applause, Pence gave a more personal appeal that seemed to resonate from deep in his own heart of faith:

So, if you are inclined to bow the head and bend the knee now, the next fourteen days is a good time to do it.  I’m grateful that some of the sweetest words I ever hear are when people say, “I’m praying for you.”  And, some of the sweetest words Donald Trump ever hears. 

Then, as if to answer a question in the minds of many in his audience and in the American electorate; namely, “How should we pray?” Mike Pence added:

But let me say, I’m not so much talking about praying for people or praying for an outcome.  I rather like what Abraham Lincoln said so many years ago during his time of trials when he was asked if he thought God was on his side.  He said I’d rather concern myself with whether we’re on God’s side as opposed to whether He is on our side. 

As if he understood another faith question that many Americans have today; namely, “Will our prayers make a difference?”  Pence continued:

So pray for our country, pray for this great nation, this last best hope of Earth [as Lincoln called America].  All the world looks with hope and aspiration to America.

What followed in Pence’s speech explains both his solid character and how his qualities as an American leader are nurtured through a strong faith in God, and in communion with God through prayer and through Scripture:

[And pray] for our strength for this time of decision.  And, when you do, pray with confidence.    Because what has been true for thousands of years is still true today—that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He has always done in much more challenging times, He’ll hear from heaven, and He’ll heal this land--this one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Moral issues at stake in Election 2016
In conclusion, Mike Pence’s stump speech was devoted heavily to addressing issues that are crucial to the future direction of America and which demonstrate that Trump-Pence has a very different view of what America ought to become than Clinton-Kaine.  Many of these differences touch issues that are deeply rooted in the moral and ethical foundation of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures as explained by a voter guide prepared by the Ohio Christian Alliance.  

While it is true that both Trump and Clinton have raised questions in our minds as to their qualification for president, it is heartening to know that Governor Mike Pence is a man of solid faith and moral character.  It is also encouraging that both Pence and Trump are aware (perhaps becoming more aware each day) of the importance of faith in our nation’s affairs. And with these facts, we ought to be encouraged that in spite of our moral failings as Americans and as a nation, God is still working in the lives of at least some American leaders that are worthy of our respect, and even our vote in Election 2016.

How About You?  I welcome your "Comment."  Here are links to earlier articles on Election 2016:

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