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Archive for November 1st, 2008

In anticipation of Election Day, my former CT colleague Doug LeBlanc wrote the following post and gave me permission to share it here. Whichever guy you’re voting for on Tuesday, may we all reflect the same honesty, civility, and grace as my dear friend Doug. 

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Four years ago, media maven and überblogger Jeff Jarvis posted a Post-Election Peace Pledge on November 1. Jarvis made four simple commitments in his pledge:

After the election results are in, I promise to:

• Support the President, even if I didn’t vote for him.

• Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.

• Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.

• Unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.

That pledge spoke to me in 2004, and it speaks to me still more today, when I expect — as a social conservative voting for the McCain-Palin ticket — to be on the losing side of the presidential election.

In many ways I will be happy for Barack Obama to be elected president. I believe his election could well help America continue to recover from the deep emotional and spiritual wounds our ancestors caused by their acceptance of slavery and segregation, and that we too have caused through acts of prejudice or bigotry.

Nevertheless, my concerns about social issues, particularly abortion and gay marriage, prevent me from supporting Sen. Obama. Each presidential election makes an important symbolic statement about where the nation is and where it is moving, and on both of these issues I cannot move in Sen. Obama’s direction with a clear conscience.

A few weeks ago I talked about this struggle with my friend Ed Gilbreath. I was in Chicago for a mini-vacation with my wife, and one morning I joined Ed and LaTonya Taylor, another former colleague from Christianity Today, for breakfast.

I felt a keen sadness that morning as we parted after breakfast. We never raised our voices or disagreed sharply. Indeed, Ed’s ready and free laughter always kept the mood lighthearted. Still, I couldn’t get to the same political place as Ed and LaTonya, and that distance felt lonely.

While I cannot change my vote, what I can offer my friends is a pledge that begins with the four points by Jarvis and adds these specific commitments that I make as a social conservative:

After the election results are in, I promise to:

• Support the President’s efforts to unite Americans in ways that transcend race and ideology.

• Become involved in a social-justice ministry that pushes me out of my comfort zone.

• Engage social issues as more than blunt political weapons.

• Pray for the President daily. I turn to a simple formula that I have learned from the Rev. Bob Stamps, a Democrat and a retired United Methodist pastor who prayed this daily for the eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration: “Heavenly Father, gird the President’s mind, guard his heart, and guide his steps. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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