Thursday, November 04, 2004

Bishops Hanson and Griswold Respond to Tueday's Election

The Griswold article comes courtesy of Fr. Jake. Read the full text here.

Having come through one of the most vitriolic and divisive election campaigns any of us has ever experienced, we now look ahead to the next four years and the continuing leadership of President Bush. For many of our fellow citizens this is a cause for rejoicing. For others it is an occasion for despair. Given the polarizing rhetoric that has been employed throughout the campaign, it may be very difficult to find our way forward. Therefore, what is needed now on all sides is a genuine effort to move beyond entrenched positions and to seek common ground. What is needed now is a unifying vision, clearly articulated, of our great nation as a servant of all the world's peoples in their yearning after justice and peace.

Our President has consistently named his religious faith as the guiding force of his decisions, and our nation proclaims in the "Pledge of Allegiance" that we are one nation "under God." Such obedience to God obliges us to look always to the well-being of a world broken and bleeding, which God loves so much that he came among us in the person of Jesus to reconcile to himself and to save. Such obedience obliges us to ground our national policies in much more than self-interest and self-protection.

Let us pray that in the difficult and challenging days ahead we together, regardless of our several points of view, along with our President, may be faithful to what the Lord requires. And, as the prophet Micah tells us, what the Lord requires is "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Bishop Mark Hanson of the ELCA pretty much says the same thing.

As a religious leader and a citizen with great regard for this country, I acknowledge as well the many voices that remind us of the significance of this election, not only for this country but for people throughout the world. We have heard the challenge -- and the plea -- that the economic, political and military power of the United States be exercised in ways that serve justice, peace and care for the environment. The American electorate has spoken in this election about its deep concern for personal moral values and faith. It is my hope that we will not separate personal morality from public responsibility for the complex moral issues of hunger and poverty, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, civil war and social inequities. May our faith not isolate us in fear but give us courage to work with others to find a just and lasting peace.

As Lutherans we affirm that good government is a gift from God when that authority and responsibility is exercised in the service of the common good. I will cooperate with this administration in working toward a unity in this country that is enriched by our diversity. I will also pray for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and their families as they continue to carry out the privilege and responsibility of leadership.

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