As would-be office-holders, especially presidential candidates, venture deeper into cynical untruth and half-truth, looking for wedges to turn citizens against each other, people of faith have certain obligations.

First, we must do our homework, searching out the facts about, say, government spending, Social Security, budget deficits and who is responsible for them. We can’t just accept politicians’ statements. We might still disagree, but we will be better informed in our debates.

Second, we must avoid getting sucked into the divisions they are seeking to create and the anger they hope to engender. Civil discourse matters.

Third, we must imagine how Jesus would phrase the issue. Should the wealthy help the poor? Absolutely, Jesus said. Should we open our doors to the suffering? Absolutely, Jesus said. Jesus was far more radical than any position currently being staked out by politicians.

Fourth, we must seek oneness, not division.

You won’t hear any of that from politicians trying to wrap themselves in flag and cross. Honor and faith don’t win elections. But they do save lives.


Q: Why do you think God cares about individual people in light of the tragedy in the world?

A: It is the tragedies of the world that provide the occasion for God’s care. As the Psalmist said, God is our help in time of trouble. The “slings and arrows” that come to so many lives, including our own, aren’t a sign that God is unconcerned. Who said God would make life easy? Life is inherently difficult. We turn to God for help when the harsh winds blow, not cringing in dread before a fickle monster, but in faith and confidence.

Why do I believe that? Because I have seen it happen. I have felt God’s grace in my own time of travail. I have seen God help others.

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