A Blog by Rev. Susan Smith-Allen


It seems that almost every day, oh yet one more person announces that he or she is willing to run for President in the 2020 election, well over a year from now.  This amazes me, because I would assume that one would have to be dragged kicking, biting, and screaming (likely difficult to accomplish simultaneously) to even run for, let alone accept, such an office.  An honour, yes; but also a crazy making constant stress level.  Thanks, but no thanks!

I was upset, though, when one candidate declared that he would, after all, rather be home with the wife and kids, but running for political office was more important.  My condolences to the family, but with that attitude, they may be better off if he IS out running for public office.  Safer, even.

This attitude – considering running for office as more important than the individuals in one’s life – irritates me just as does the phrase “collateral damage.”  The idea that we could ever so readily dismiss other human beings as either less important than public service, or, as  expendable for the sake of a supposedly more desirable objective. This perhaps unexamined attitude is to me not only dangerous to other humans, it seems rank with immorality.

The Lord our God is Creator of all that exists.  Scripture leads us to believe that God considers humanity as the crowning achievement of the creative process. Therefore, since we are clearly out of our league when it comes to creating, we might need to consider very carefully our attitude toward the rest of God’s creation.  We appear very callus toward much of creation, otherwise problems such as pollution, extinction, global warming, decreasing natural resources, to name a few, would not exist.  But to mistreat, neglect, and/or abuse another human seems most egregious of all.  The teaching of God, speaking through the prophets, and most of all through Christ, ought teach us when we sin against – in any manner harm another human, we most offend God.  On Ash Wednesday, we admit in prayer that “…against You only have we sinned…” thus acknowledging our conviction that indeed, by hurting each other, we hurt our beloved Lord.  

I would argue that anyone who considers running for public office as more important than other humans, especially family, is inherently not fit to serve in any position which defines itself as ‘public service.’  Dismissing those for whom one is most responsible as less important does not inspire even the slightest degree of trust or respect.  Nor can any official or agency that dismisses loss of human life as collateral damage,’ expect to be thought of as respectable or ethical, or even legal.

If we, as supposedly Christian, followers of the Incarnate Living God, cannot recognize that the very least of our obligation to God is that we recognize all other humans as God’s own beloved child, and the rest of creation as God’s beloved, we need truly to examine our own lives and consciences, and as our Presiding Bishop calls us to do, resolve to walk in love, following the path to which he ascribes seven steps, Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest.

God grant each of us the wisdom, courage, and strength, so to do.


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