Watching the Presidential Debate & Listening for a Vision of True Security

Tonight voters get a chance to hear from two of our candidates for President – Donald J. Trump, Republican nominee, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee. Each will make a case for why they should be our next leader

Jason-Carson-Wilson-photobyMartinMcKinney2.jpgThe 90-minute debate, with no commercial interruption, begins at 9 PM ET. You can stream the coverage online via YouTube.

Clinton and Trump will spar over whose vision for America is best. It’s important to remember that God is still speaking, as they speak. Ask yourself, “What is God saying about this election? What is God saying about the challenges, which face the nation?”

For this first debate the moderator, Lester Holt, will ask questions related to three themes:

  • America’s direction
  • Achieving prosperity
  • Securing America

In our post-9/11 nation, securing America is a high priority for many voters. As we have this opportunity to hear to the candidates’ candid remarks, rather than the speeches and sound bites we’ve heard so far, what should we be listening for? As people of faith – what might a vision of TRUE security look like?

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but our trust is in the name of our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Because of our faith we can imagine a world where security is not measured simply by military might and the strength of our closed borders, but by our capacity to achieve the common global good and share the resources that sustain communities.

With that in mind, here are some of the topics I’ll be listening for while I watch the debate tonight. Join me in tuning in, listening prayerfully to hear what the candidates are promising to do, and committing – no matter the outcome of the elections this November – to working together to build a world where true security for all God’s children is acheived.


We believe that our faith calls us to offer “extravagant welcome” to our brothers and sisters. What might that look like – to offer welcome and work for peace – when we think about the global refugee crisis?

Right now we are facing a massive period of global migration. Sixty million refugees and migrants are on the move. More than we’ve seen since World War II. These are men, women, and children who have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution based on who they are – their race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Scripture is clear on how we should response. Refugees should be welcomed. And many in the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ are putting their faith into action, by joining together to help partners bring peace to Syria and welcome refugees here in the U.S.


In recent years we have seen a worrying increase in hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric. Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself, no matter who they are. Do both candidates think the God’s diverse creations make our country great? We do.

National security has been used to justify being less than neighborly to Muslim Americans. The United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ stressed in  2011 prophetic public witnesses that we should do what Jesus said. Love our neighbor as ourselves.


Living this call to love of our neighbors as ourselves also compels us to work for peace in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a Denomination, the UCC has called for a Kairos Moment (a moment of truth) in solidarity with the Palestinian people who have experienced displacement and apartheid.

The Psalmist reminds us that “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof….” God is still speaking and reminds us that the earth still belongs to us all. That means we should cherish this gift enough work for a Just peace in our country and world. Peace will keep God’s gift in one piece.

Those are some of the issues I’ll be listening for in the debate tonight. I want to know how the candidates will address the refugee crisis, uphold the rights of Muslim Americans, and work for peace in the Middle East. What will you be listening for? What is your vision of true security?

Categories: Column Our Faith Our Vote: Blog

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