Editorial, God isn’t on the ballot

vacancy in heaven
Graphic by Max Pixel.

God isn’t on the ballot

Will the membership of the US Senate be decided on the basis of improper sexual conduct by men? Could be. The men of neither party are totally innocent and pure, and that’s not a reason to dismiss the complaints as of no practical consequence. Americans are at an uncomfortable social moment when changes must be made in the culture.

Will the next Panamanian National Assembly have a new contingent from an Evangelical political party? Ah, but we know this particular crowd of Evangelicals — who should not be taken to represent ALL Evangelicals — and we have seen their interactions in politics. It’s sordid stuff.

Some years ago the Catholic Church got institutionally sick of the “God’s representative in secular politics” pretense and banned most political activity by its priests. Some good men like Father Drinan, the Democratic representative from Massachusetts, had to retire. But of course both Testaments of the Bible are full of tales of political stands by men trying to adhere to God’s guidance and the Vatican still finds itself taking stands on controversial political issues, even if its priests can’t run for office on such stands. And still, an Archdiocese of Metro Panama that took from Richard Fifer of the Petaquilla gold mine scam also is shown to have taken from the Brazilian criminal conglomerate Odebrecht and the archbishop’s plea that the church did not know has the thud that inspires incredulity rather than the ring of truth.

God isn’t on the ballot. Not in the special election in Alabama, not in the 2019 general election in Panama. The values and judgments of believers of all denominations — and of those whose value systems are non-religious — will play large roles in all of those decisions and they should. On basic questions like about how it’s wrong to steal, to take bribes, to oppress those with different beliefs, most of the faithful of the different religions tend to strongly agree. There is a common denominator of ordinary decency. There will be different opinions on various issues and there are rival political tribes, but the underlying value of decency, stripped down to its essentials, ought to have an important role in our decisions.


Bear in mind…

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
Thomas Jefferson


I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don’t think there is anything such as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you’re happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven’t reached that stage yet.
Rosa Parks


The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything — or nothing.
Nancy Astor


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