Presbytery of Baltimore Moderator
Jack V. Carlson offers his perspective on our nation's recent general election.
Dear Mr. President-Elect:
At the outset, we would offer congratulations on your victory in Tuesday's election, truly the most stunning upset ever in American Presidential politics. You have demonstrated an ability to hear a large segment of American society many of us have ignored. Therefore, despite serious differences of opinion on many matters of policy, we will heed the calls of President Obama and Secretary Clinton to be open to your leadership and to hope for your success.
At the same time, we would share with you the deep concerns that your election has brought to us, and to many of our colleagues and friends. Indeed the success we wish for you may be contrary to many of the promises you made during the campaign, including treatment of immigrants, providing for health care for all, and the filling of vacancies on the Supreme Court . Certainly sometimes being a loyal American means being part of the loyal opposition.
But even more important than our political views and our loyalty to this nation is the Christian faith we profess. This faith instructs us to pray for our civic and political leaders, and so as you prepare to assume the Presidency, and long after you have taken the oath of office, we pledge to pray for you and those with whom surround yourself as Cabinet Members and advisors.
As we do so, we would have you know that we will be praying that God will give you a heart of compassion, not only for those "forgotten Americans" of the middle class who make up your political base and whose votes swept you into office, but also for the poor, those who suffer from chronic mental illness or physical disabilities, undocumented but hard-working immigrants who only want what your family wanted when they came to America.
We will be praying that God will give you understanding, not only for the plight of Americans who have lost jobs because of faulty trade deals, but also those who live in unremitting poverty that has spanned generations, whose economic viability will not be enhanced by negotiating better trade advantages for American companies. We pray that in seeking a new answer to the question of affordable health care for all Americans, God will stay your hand from disenfranchising the twenty million Americans who are now covered by health insurance, but were never covered before.
We will pray that God will give you the courage to listen honestly to some of the individuals and groups who feel alienated by your election, to reach out to those who are profoundly frightened of the changes that may be ahead, and to craft policies that will communicate that all have a home here in this great nation. We will pray that in your speech and in your actions God will guide you to demonstrate respect for women, Muslims, members of the LGBTQ communities.
We also pledge to you that we intend to continue to live out our faith in the world, taking special care to be responsive to the needs of the poor, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner, the outcast, the neglected of society. We pledge further that as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven as well as of the United States, we will be prepared to oppose actions which demonstrate disregard for those needs, or which further injure or marginalize the most vulnerable in our society.
And so, please know: you will be in our prayers, for intercessory prayer is the lifeblood of community. By the same token, we have faith that prayer will also embolden us to act as God may call us to act.
In Christ's name,
Jack V. Carlson, Moderator
Presbytery of Baltimore