Tag Archives: voting

Three Lessons From Election Day

Because I didn’t realize that my polling place operates on Central time, I had an hour to stand in line this morning and ponder the imponderables about the state of our nation, the state of Alabama, and the etiquette of pulling out a snack-sized coffee cake for breakfast when you didn’t bring enough for everyone. But while standing there, I was confronted with three small things that ex-fundamentalists can learn from the voting process. In no particular order they are…

We’re not doing it alone
Almost nothing in our lives happens in complete solitude. Fundamentalism presents the mythology that a little church or small school is out there serving God almost alone, standing against the rest of the country and the world. Yet much like an election, people and forces are involved that go far and wide beyond the simple scope of our one polling station, our one town, or our one state.

People will vote today whom we have never met and whom we would not like if we did meet them. Yet, they too have a place in this story, they too are doing the work of the political process. In much the same way there are people in the kingdom of heaven doing work in places you will never go doing work that you will never see. They matter too.

It isn’t over until it’s over

Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us that finishing is better than starting. At the end we can see what actually happened. The results are in. The count is finished. The score is final. For better or worse we know what happened.

Unfortunately, there are many who want to tell us what they think will happens and the dozen reason why their predictions are smarter than the myriad of others. Pundits on morning shows compete with pastors in the pulpit to tell us their best guesses about the future of our country, our churches, and our families if we don’t follow their personal game plan. Fear, manipulation, and half-truths are the order of the day.

But how often are they right? The anti-Christ has not yet taken over the earth. The Russians haven’t invaded. Things aren’t over no matter which way this election goes. The end of our stories has yet to be finished and the end may still yet be much, much better than the beginning.

A one-time decision isn’t enough.
Today we go out and choose leaders. Tomorrow half the country will be somewhere in the stages of grief between anger and depression. The good news is that this isn’t the last election this country will ever have. In one or two or four years we’ll get to come back and do this again. Don’t like the results? Wait a while. This too shall pass.

But the lesson here is that at no point can we say “this is finished. We’ve made a good decision and that will be the LAST time we have to choose.” Life is a process which requires adjustments, false starts, and second guesses. No single decision made in a voting booth or an old-fashioned altar can be expected to irrevocably change your life forever. Be still. Wait a while. This too shall pass.

Commandments Concerning Election Season

And when it shall come to pass that another four years has come and gone and the season shall again turn to the selection of a new President that thou shalt surely gird up thy loins and quit thee like men to stand against hordes of evil, humanism, and socialism. And thou shalt campaign for God’s Choice of candidate with thy every waking moment. For God sits on His sovereign throne directing all things by the will of his power…but it’s the government who can raise your taxes and take your guns away.

And thou shalt craft thy sermons with care, drawing liberally (but not the bad kind) from the stories of Israel’s triumph and thereby destroying thine own made up rules about dispensations. Thou shalt cry aloud against the forces of liberalism (the bad kind) will be the very death of everything that is good and just and right. And in the day that the men (and maybe even a few women if God can’t find any men first) with the R behind their names are seated in power then will the windows of heaven open and our cattle shall be fat and our menservants and maidservants shall be many. And then shall all the congregation of the people know that God’s blessing and sovereignty is totally dependent on politics.

And when thou hast entered thy voting chamber and shut thy door, then shall thou harken to obey the voice of the commandment which was given aforetime that thy days may be long upon the earth. For to the candidates of the filthy Democrat and of the pot-loving Libertarian and of the new-agey Green thou shalt not pull the lever, neither shalt thou even glance in their direction. The fate of the country is totally and completely in your hands. And God’s too, I guess.

Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements, p 128


Today is election day in America. Whatever a fundamentalist’s beliefs about separating from the rest of the world they do not extend to shunning contact with sinners in the line leading to the ballot box.

Voting itself has almost reached quasi-sacrament status in fundyland with pastors and leaders using the days leading up to any election to spread the word that it is the duty of the faithful before God and man to go pull the lever for whichever candidate is currently in fundy favor. To maintain their non-profit status, churches have historically not gone to endorsing candidates directly from the pulpit but they will have them come in to their service, award them a Bible and let them speak from the pulpit. That’s all.

But as popular as voting is with fundys, they dearly wish that fewer Americans were permitted to do it — About 50% fewer if the truth were known. Women, you see, are fragile creatures who use emotion instead of logic in their decision making and really are in no shape to make choices about who should run the country. Women’s suffrage is just one more step on the road to destruction and Susan B. Anthony was, quite frankly, the devil.

Of course, simple math shows that if non-fundy women vote then fundy women are forced to do the same to even the score at the ballot box. So fundies make this compromise: women are allowed to vote as long as they vote the way their husbands, fathers, and pastors tell them to — as long as that man is a conservative. For if a women votes against her husband she is exercising authority over him by canceling out his vote. This is only permissible if her husband is a godless liberal and she’s taking a moral stand; otherwise, it’s just rebellion.

Bless their dear sweet hearts.