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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Election Day: A Sacred Occasion

We are hard at work on an article about the latest poverty data that the U.S. Census Bureau released a couple of weeks ago. Before we get to that, though, we feel compelled to pause and take notice of the current election season. We can't remember a noisier "mid-term" election campaign. Each of you has some collection of contests to consider and make a commitment on. There's much "throw-the-bums-out" sentiment, and whichever side of that you are on, there's a clarion call to pay attention to issues and people and make a choice.

Two comments to that end. If a candidate argues that they want to "cut government spending", ask or try to find out how they might intend to do that. What programs will they cut? How will they reform entitlements? The specifics of their answers may not actually matter right now; what matters is whether they've done some careful study to find concrete approaches to this nearly imponderable situation. It's not a time for platitudes. Also, think yourselves about what it is you want government to do. What is distinctively a government role and what can be left to private institutions or causes? In other words, what are your own criteria for the appropriate functions of government?

In this light, here is a prayer, a brief litany, from the Book of Common Prayer (page 821). We quoted the final paragraph of this two years ago, just on the eve of that election. In reviewing that post, we note the point made at the time by the Rev. Stephen Muncie, Rector of Grace Church Brooklyn Heights. Election day is a "sacred occasion", he said, "a day set aside" for us to make known our choices about our governments. Blessings on all of us as we do this, and thanks, too, that we have the privilege, without fear or intimidation, of voting the way we each believe is right.
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For Sound Government
O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.
Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well‑being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name.
For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Amen.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote from last Sunday's apt lesson from the old lectionary: ..."the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous -therefore judgment comes forth perverted." (Habakkuk). Glad to have your contributions to almost sanity.

[This is a note from our old friend Frances. We are gratified that our effort here is regarded as "almost sanity"! -- Carol]

10/05/2010 3:42 PM  

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