Voting and Trusting

November 2, 2012

Excerpt from Psalm 146

"Don't put your trust in human leaders; no human being can save you."

Reflection by William C. Green
   
Voting and trusting are not the same thing. We vote for leaders we consider the best. We trust in God whose ways will prevail over any leader's violation of them. Political prudence and expedience are no excuse. God "judges in favor of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry…sets prisoners free…lifts those who have fallen…protects the strangers who live in our land; helps widows and orphans."  God's success may not be immediately apparent. It's easily obscured in the best leaders. But history shows that what finally prevails is not leaders in whom we trust but God's judgment, named as such or not. Our voting, our leadership, must be aligned with God's ways or fail.

The idea of trusting in God's ways, and considering this a political standard for leadership and voting is commonly abused. The Bible has been cherry-picked to advance oppressive views and values. But there can be no doubt that read as a whole what God considers just is constant. Different interpretations of this can be found within Scripture reflecting customs and traditions of the day. But the underlying line always points in favor of the oppressed, marginalized, and most vulnerable. More than military force and diplomatic alliance, this is what makes a nation strong, including its economy.

Spirituality is practical and faith political at the point of God's judgment and divine justice. This is never just personal but societal. It's never about my personal and spiritual well-being alone but about that of my fellow citizens and global neighbors as well. It's never about mistaking language for substance—like whether we use the word "God" and "Jesus" or not instead of focusing on what this means and all whom it includes.

Prayer

May we vote mindful of our faith and your judgment, God. In you we trust. Amen.

About the Author
William C. Green is Vice-President for Strategy and Development, Moral Courage Project, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the author of 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving.

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