As We Vote
November 5, 2018
As Election Day Nears
In our republic there is a long history of debate about the proper relationship of church and state, religion and politics, God and government. The cover of the October 10, 2018 Christian Century magazine “Do politics belong in church?” is representative of this debate.
This debate notwithstanding, we also have a parallel history of faith based participation in politics as well as a long history of Election Day Sermons. These sermons, which are most prominent in colonial New England, usually extol God’s blessings on the English colonies (and later the United States), elucidate a clear connection between these blessings and the duties, like being involved citizens, necessary to maintain the blessings and implore the people to fulfill their duties as citizens with the fear of God, and the desire to do God’s work, firmly in their hearts.
However, as the following quotation from the May 1776 Election Day Sermon of The Reverend Samuel B. West in New Bedford, Massachusetts makes clear, the early preachers clearly believed that while the magistrates (elected officials) were to do the work of God, the mere fact that they held office did not mean that they were fulfilling that mandate.
If magistrates are ministers of God only because the law of God and reason points out the necessity of such an institution for the good of mankind, it follows, that whenever they pursue measures directly destructive of the public good they cease being God’s ministers, they forfeit their right to obedience from the subject, they become the pests of society, and the community is under the strongest obligation of duty, both to God and to its own members, to resist and oppose them, which will be so far from resisting the ordinance of God that it will be strictly obeying his commands.
These seem to be points worth remembering as Election Day 2018 approaches. While political speech is often full of religious references and elected officials like to claim that they are doing God’s work, we have the right and duty to make our own decisions about the veracity of such claims. As Reverend West notes, holding office and being a “pest of society” are not mutually exclusive identities.
Prayers of the Congregation
Virgina McClow for all our elected officials; Pat Hughes for her family; For a world without walls; Gail Carter for a successful election; Julio Cash for his family; Delores for her grandson; Jim Dorr during a difficult time; Thanksgiving that Joel Reyes is home from the hospital; Thanksgiving for a beautiful beginning to November; Thanksgiving for Yosemite; Gloria Joseph in Kaiser Hospital San Leandro; Katrian Lau; Chuck Johnston for his niece; John Lee for his sister; Zondra Martin for her family; Doris Evans for her family; Thanksgiving with Jeanne Robinson for answered prayers; Alean Saunders-Coffey for her sister in law; Mary Karne for her family our country; Peggy Rogers-Tamayo for her family and herself; The San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church; Roxanne Jones and family; The unhoused of our communities; Thanksgiving for Larry Sims and Rajeev Singh who got the sound system working in time for worship on 11-4
Please remember to claim your photos that were on the Day of the Dead Altar. They are currently in the Pastor’s Robing Room in the Sanctuary.
There is a Forever Young lunch (turkey) and program (musicians) this Saturday at 12:30. Please RSVP with George, Alodia or Sandra.