The Democratic and Republican Primaries
The Primary season is coming to a close and some would say at not a moment too soon.
It appears at this juncture that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Billionaire mogul Donald Trump are going to be the respective nominees of their political parties.
Mrs. Clinton has been an active political actor since she served in a legal advisory council to Congress in the mid-1970s when the Watergate scandal was engulfing the Nixon Administration; she continued her rise to prominence in the late 1970s and throughout the decade of the 1980s as she worked alongside her husband (William Jefferson Clinton) as the First Lady of the state of Arkansas.
Mr. Trump inherited his father’s construction business and turned a multi-million dollar enterprise into a company with equity measured in the billions. The Donald – as he is often called – briefly ran for President in the Reform Party back in 1999-2000. Mr. Trump is considered to be a political novice, but often forgotten with that description is the fact that Donald Trump has been a celebrity and well-known public figure for more than 30 years.
While Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have differing political philosophies, they share one crucial similarity: Both of these political players ignite strong passions of dislike in those who view them unfavorably.
The Gallop polling organization reminds the populace that our nation has never seen two nominees who were running for the highest office in the land with such high negative favorable vis-à-vis unfavorable ratings.
Most of the time the Democratic Party enjoys falling in love with their respective nominee while the Republican Party generally falls in line and waits for the next person or heir apparent to accept the party’s nomination.
Nevertheless, most Democrats love Senator Bernie Sanders and it is Mrs. Clinton who finished second in the Democratic race for Presidency behind then Senator Barack Obama who has now “fallen in line.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, a significant minority of Republican Party enthusiasts have given the keys to the car to a novice: Mr. Donald J. Trump.
A question that one might ask themselves is this: How is it in a nation of roughly 300 million people that we end up nominating two people of this caliber?
Surely there must be other men and women of sterling character, competence, charisma, and capability who would make a much better fit for the daily demands that entails occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Within the past week, the Obama Admiration has passed some new guidelines which were meant to provide guidance and clarity to School Districts dealing with making accommodations to Transgender students.
Now, anytime that you discuss “human sexuality” in any context you invite a potential for controversy and passionate argumentation.
As a Pastor and seminary trained theologian, I start with the Orthodox position that in the beginning GOD made Man male and female and in the Image of GOD (Imago Dei to quote Saint Augustine).
Nevertheless, Saint Augustine in his seminal work “The City of GOD” reminds Christian believers that they (we) inhabit two worlds or two kingdoms: By our Spiritual Rebirth and Acceptance of JESUS CHRIST as our LORD and Savior, we are born into The Kingdom of GOD; our ultimate citizenship and loyalty is in Heaven and to The LORD that we serve.
However, while we live, play, and labor on earth we have a dual citizenship with the respective nation or nations that we are born into. When the values, principles, and beliefs of one “City” collide with the values, principles, and beliefs of the other city there is bound to be serious conflicts.
Christians and Orthodox and/or Conservative Jews should not be surprised when they find themselves at odds or at variance with the prevailing sexual mores of their culture.
In the case with how we deal with our “transgender brethren and friends,” I would caution all of us whether we are Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or of no faith at all to Stop, Pause, take a time out and attempt to discuss compassionately and reverently how we handle this perplexing and perhaps volatile issue on the local and state levels.
We may vehemently disagree with each other, but we Do Not have a right to demonize one another as each and every human being is “created in the Image of GOD.”
The American Constitutional Order
As a person with a “Conservative political philosophy,” I find it troubling that a large portion of our nation has forgotten the two time-honored Constitutional principles of both (1.) Federalism and (2.) the Separation of Powers doctrine.
In High School Civics (oh, I forgot that Civics is no longer taught in many of our nation’s school districts…) teaches us that we live in a system of Federalism in which we have a National or Federal Government and we have our State Governments.
The Founders of our Country gave us these safeguards so that the American populace would not be in danger of either the President or Congress (or the least dangerous branch “the Supreme Court”) abusing their political office or powers while they are in office.
Separation of Powers means that (1.) the Legislative branch, (2.) the Executive branch, and (3.) the Judiciary all have their unique roles and separate powers and responsibilities.
Where we get into problems is when the “Legislative branch” (made up of both Democratic and Republican Congressmen and Congresswomen who all too long often abdicate their responsibilities) simply stands back and acquiesces to the will of both the Executive and the Judicial branches.
A Final Word of Exhortation
My Brothers and Sisters Do Not Despair!
Despair is a Sin, but to place your Hope and Trust In GOD is always a wise position!
Do Not Fear!
Do Not Give Up Hope!
I leave you with this encouraging Scripture penned thousands of years ago by the Prophet Zephaniah in the Old Testament [Zephaniah 3.17 (NRSVCE)]:
“The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”