ImageSince I became a US citizen in 1975, I have voted in all national, state and local elections, minus one school election that somehow I did not remember until the voting place was closed.  I consider voting to be one of the sacred responsibilities that we have as citizens of this country, which we should guard diligently and practice with regularity.

As in most of the American homes this year, the political debates have been intense. Two parents, four daughters, a son-in-law, and a boyfriend all contribute to this intensity.  The fact that two of our children are voting for the first time in the national elections heightens the political deliberations.

One day, I asked my children if they have sent any money to their political candidates.  I wanted to see if their political convictions would persuade them to send some of their hard-earned money.   

The other idea that makes my children slightly upset is that I have never told them who is my candidate in any of the national or state elections.  I do not tell those decisions even to my wife. I know that some of my closest friends consider that very odd, but I do this for a number of reasons.

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

The first reason is that I grew up in a country where there was no voting.  In communist Yugoslavia, there was only one candidate on the ballot and every citizen was required to go and vote.  That is how the communist regimes could tell the world that they have perfect voting. One candidate for each position and every citizen forced to vote.  A citizen was punished if she did not go to vote and, if for some crazy reason, somebody decided to write something on the ballot, the government will find the brave person and punish them even more.

Secondly, as a pastor, I tell my congregants that they have a sacred duty to vote, but I never tell them who should be their candidate.  This is something that they should do on their own.  Again, I have friends who make their views known or who tell their congregants how to vote.  I have a problem with the majority of my African-American pastors who are always bringing Democratic candidates to speak in their churches and with my evangelical brothers who mostly support the Republican candidates.  I do, however, believe that a pastor should preach on moral issues that conflict with the Scriptures, like the Bishop of San Francisco who reminded Nancy Pelosi that her position on the Roman Catholic Church and abortion was incorrect.

There have been people who had hoped that this national election would be a cleaner election, but as the voting day is approaching, the mud slinging has begun on both sides.  Nevertheless, one is asked to discern the glimpses of truth and pray that whoever is chosen will govern with honesty and integrity, not demeaning the people that did not vote for him. 

When the voting is done, citizens and elected officials should work for the just interests of this country.  I emphasize just, because injustice is the shortest road to ruin.

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Avatar of George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...