From: William Gibbons Jr
Greetings to each of you,
A couple of weeks ago, around the time of Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival, I received a couple of emails from which I am quoting. In fact, the first one was the entire email from a close friend. The second, also from a close friend, had an extra sentence. This is kind of my finally getting back with them, and with any of you who are as stressed as I was about the struggle of what to do this election. My emails tend to be somewhat wordier, of course (I guess that would qualify as one of those "British understatements").
I suspect there are many, perhaps some of you, in my life circle who would think I could never vote for someone like Donald Trump. Under normal circumstances they would be right. I have heard many people say he [Trump] is a different person in private, but I still have to face the fact that in public he is the most obnoxious presidential candidate I have ever seen. Plus, I do not believe in building walls. I do not believe in excluding people based on their religion, or any other criteria, except that they pose a clear real danger to others. I was a business owner for over forty years, and have lived long enough to know that trickle-down economics does not work in practical application. And, it almost always comes hand in hand with loosening environmental rules. Allowing immature people to destroy the very earth we all depend upon to sustain our lives is an incomprehensible reality of those who look at life from only a business standpoint.
"There is no business to conduct on a dead planet."
But, around a month ago I received a piece of political literature (by mail or email) which said something astounding. I believe it was from the Michigan Right to Life organization. Its headline said abortion was the number one cause of death in the United States. I immediately questioned whether that could actually be true. I had always read heart disease, which I have, and cancer, which I had only a brief encounter with, have clearly been listed as the number one and two causes of death in the United States for as long as I have been paying attention to such things. So, I decided to research the facts for myself to discover the truth. What I found is this. The primary reason abortion is not widely recognized as the leading cause of death in the United States is because the CDC does not consider it to be a cause of death. The logic here is obvious. The CDC does not consider those whose lives are aborted to be real people. If they are not actual people, there can be no cause of death. I, on the other hand, very much consider the unborn to be real people. And do indeed consider abortion to be a "cause" of death. When included as such, abortion really is the leading cause of death in the United States.
"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction
While my personal perspectives on abortion are very conservative, I am what would likely be categorized as a pro-life choice person. As an independent, I watched both the Republican and Democratic conventions. I heard most of the key speeches, including Trump's and Clinton's acceptance speeches. I thought she came across as very presidential. Unfortunately, she also made it very clear that she completely supported full government funding of Planned Parenthood, who happens to be the largest provider of abortions in our country. Almost 1,000,000 (one million) Americans per year never get to see the light of day because in that nine-month preparation period, their lives are terminated. Allowing them to be considered as real persons, that would be roughly the equivalent of a World Trade Center attack (9/11) every single day of the year. I cannot even truly wrap my head around whatever level of carnage those numbers represent. But my heart says I cannot just walk away from them in silence. I know for certain now, I cannot vote for someone who has made it clear she chooses to completely support allowing abortion to remain the number one cause of death in our country. Even efforts to make sure women are properly informed, given healthy alternatives, and simply protected by good medical guidelines and practices should they choose abortion, have often been struck down by the type of judges Clinton has promised to appoint. I could not in good conscience, and did not vote for Clinton. I have heard all of the arguments of the proponents of abortion. The issue is always sidetracked under the guise of free will choice, which God clearly gives to each of us. But, so far, most of the voices I have heard supporting abortion, to one degree or another, come across as the self-centered, egotistical, me first culture so embedded in our country (I can still see much of that in myself, and I do not like it). Unfortunately, Trump could be the poster boy for these less than desirable, and completely unimpressive, traits. Coming to a decision has been a journey of great stress.
In the past, when I have not been impressed by either candidate, I usually vote for the Green party, fully realizing my vote will decide nothing but perhaps keeping the alternative parties in the system. This is not one of our tweedledeedee or tweedledeedum elections however. With abortion as the number one cause of death in our country, and liberal judges legislating, instead of just doing their jobs of deciding on constitutionality and interpreting the laws that pass muster, the choice is too stark this time. I believe I have voted in every presidential election since I came of age to do so. I have voted in most other elections as well. As an independent (I voted for Obama the first time he ran, and for George Bush at least once), I usually look at a variety of issues, and what I think of the person, before making a choice. That got me nowhere this time. But I kept thinking of those almost a million Americans who never get to see the light of day. An argument can be made that Trump will make life miserable for a lot of people. But these are all people with choices. The child waiting to be born has no choices just yet (that we are aware of). Who knows if there could have been another Washington, Lincoln, Gandhi (yes, I know he was not an American), Martin Luther King, or Peace Pilgrim among them. Only God knows for certain.
This is the first time I have ever needed to resort to bringing my vote down to a single issue. But, in the end I decided to vote completely pro-life. From top to bottom, if Right to Life of Michigan endorsed a candidate, they got my vote. (RTL provided a list by districts in their Right to Life of Michigan News. It is apparently also available at www.RTL.org, by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 616-532-2300.) If Trump by some fluke, and the help of reluctant votes like mine, manages to astound everyone yet again, I will need to fervently pray he can rise to the occasion (it is not without precedent), bringing his ego and mouth under some reasonable control. I visited more than two dozen websites, read AARP comparisons, watched debates and conventions, did much soul searching, and a lot of praying seeking God's will along this journey. I am not usually overly vocal about who I vote for. Even feeling lead to compose this email, and after weeks of making notes, it was a stressful decision to sit down to write it. The content is solely my own personal opinions and choices, and does not reflect the viewpoints of anything I am connected with (except perhaps RTL, I suppose, but even then not necessarily).
Whether you agree with me, or stand totally opposed in your viewpoints, I strongly encourage you to vote. Democracy, to function well, needs all its citizens' opinions to be heard from. Though no one ever gets all of what they personally want, Democracy works best when all of its citizens peacefully participate.
People tell me all the time that my spiritual, philosophical, or perspective emails are way too long. It is one of the reasons you do not get very many of them. So I am stopping this one here. The rest of my thoughts and notes are on my website. If you are interested, you can click on this link to read more.
My standard 'General Notes' followed my signature as with all my emails. They were eliminated here for continuity and space considerations.
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
This has been an interesting political year (or so). One thing made very clear is there are a lot of angry and frustrated people in our country. I think much of that is the result of what our culture emphasizes. Mostly, we have been sold a bill of goods. Sometimes it comes packaged very nicely with an enticing, but very ambiguous, slogan like the "American dream." Unfortunately, most its components has had the effect of increasing an "us and them" attitude, influencing greatly how each of us functions. Everyone of us has a "them" group (or many) we would not be too thrilled to participate with, or help, unless it were to help "them" be more like "us."
Freedom is a tricky business. and make no mistake, freedom
is what it is ultimately all about. Do you want to be rich? Why? Few people
want to be rich just for the sake of being rich. In truth what you likely
want is the financial freedom to buy whatever you desire, the freedom to be
able to go wherever you wish, the freedom to do as you please, the freedom
to be who you are. Just about everything boils down to the basics of freedom
from worry, freedom from fear, freedom from hurt, freedom from bondage (emotional,
physical, financial, across the board). I remain hopeful that the Teaching
& Sharing Centers organization will emerge as a helpful institution in this
quest for real freedom. When asked once what we teach and share, I finally
concluded, beyond that a strong relationship with God is the ultimate core
to real freedom, the most important thing we teach and share, is to freely
teach and share. Mostly we try to do it by example. In the end, it is the
answer to gaining freedom. Most of us know this intuitively, some do not.
But, generally speaking, almost all parents teach and share freely with their
children. Expand that to include other people's children, and you lose a portion
of those as the beginning of an "us" and "them" mentality. As you progress
to adults, and people who do not look, think, or behave like "us," the category
of "them" increases, and teaching and sharing decreases. We can change that.
The best path to being free, is to freely teach and share. Once again, I invite
you to join us, the T&SC organization, on this journey.
"My concern is not whether God is on our side;
ABOUT ABORTION AND WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I CALL MYSELF PRO-LIFE CHOICE
As mentioned already, my personal perspectives on abortion
are very conservative, and I stand firmly in the pro-life camp. Still, I am
a person who champions choice in all areas of life. I call myself
God grants us all free will. I take a more traditional Native American position on how it relates to others. While I can teach and share my perspectives and experience, and encourage others to always choose the path of life, it is not my place to tell someone else what to believe, or what they should do with their life. A person's life is ultimately between them and their Creator. Period. I am just william. God is God. As a society, we do however set reasonable guidelines, we call laws. We are not allowed to drive on whatever side of the road strikes our fancy. Consequences to others would be too great, so there are rules against it, and personal consequences for ignoring them. I have seen no reasonableness on either side of the abortion issue. Both sides seem entrenched in an all or nothing mentality. My choice is always to go with God. To the best of my ability to discern it, I do not see God supporting wholesale abortion. The reality though is clearly more women choose abortion over adoption, but why?
It is obviously not because of a lack of suitable families seeking to adopt a child. Each year in the United States, about 51,000 American children are placed for adoption. In addition, about 6,500 foreign children are adopted by Americans, for a total of a little under 58,000 children adopted per year. There are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between one and two million couples. If adoptions replaced half of the abortions performed each year, there would still be way more than enough couples waiting to adopt the children. I suspect such a change would require a shift in our culture to one that more broadly respects life. We are not anywhere close to that now.
"A man's heart away from nature becomes hard,
Disrespecting life at any level leads to disrespecting life at every level. I am amazed that pro-abortion liberals are not at all willing to consider the violence we see all across our nation in any way connected to the casual attitudes about abortion and the violence committed against the defenseless and helpless unborn. While those who are personal friends usually know I am strongly pro-life, the only time I recall writing about it previously was to condemn, and make people aware of, a barbaric procedure referred to as partial-birth abortion. A clear example of how far things will go without any respect for life. Partial-birth abortion is the one which outraged me the most when I found out about it years ago. Without going into the gruesome details, as the baby is in the process of being born, they kill it before it is fully out of the mother so it can be legally deemed an abortion rather than murder. I have never understood how such a thing could be legal in this country under the guise of "choice." That procedure finally became illegal in 2003, although abortion providers have apparently found ways around the law for some years.
Much like an acorn, or a maple seed, in the ground, once it sprouts it is a tree. It may not look like much of a tree at first, but it will never grow into a pig, or an orange on a tree, or a human arm. It starts out as a tree, and it matures as a tree . . . always. I consider the conceived human to be the same. The biggest difference is that I could, with the utmost of care, move the seedling tree to a more suitable spot if it needed to be. Unlike a tree though, I do not have the ability to carefully transplant an unborn child if it is someplace someone does not want it. Since God, in his infinite wisdom, has placed the new baby under the initial control of a single individual, the only comprehensive abortion law I could see myself whole heartedly supporting, is one that said if the child has a chance of being viable outside of the womb you can no longer kill it for convenience. It must somehow, by whatever safe medical procedures are available, be delivered into the hands of those of us who believe in the sanctity of life. We do not allow parents to kill children (at any age once they are born) simply because they do not want them. The same should be true for an unborn child which is viable outside of the womb. Then it would be up to us, who believe in the sanctity of life, to put our money and efforts where our mouth is, and have facilities and procedures in place to care for each baby, until the child has sufficiently grown to be placed for adoption.
I believe one of the great failings of the pro-life movement was when they allowed the pro-abortion faction to gain the upper hand in referring to themselves by the lofty sounding label of being "pro-choice." Abortion proponents are not at all about choice. Unfortunately, they are often mostly about making money. They do not feel they should be subjected to the same guidelines and rules as other medical providers for the safety of those receiving their services. They do not feel they should have to provide alternative information or warn women about the substantial psychological aftereffects (let alone any physical). Unregulated, they claim a physical complications rate of only 1%. No one seems to question the possibility that an industry with no oversight might be lying, especially considering Canada, which does regulate and track abortion, has a 10% complications rate. Where is the real choice when frightened women at a time of great emotional stress are lead to "choose" abortion, with no real protection, and no helpful guidance regarding true alternatives. I have seen percentages running much higher, but the general conservative estimate is that even though abortion constitutes only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services, it accounts for one fourth (25%), or more, of its income. If it is all about being pro-choice, then anyone voicing that perspective should be going all out to make sure there are many choices available for women who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Planned Parenthood supposedly goes over all the options. But they cannot be encouraging options other than abortion very much when they have just 1 adoption for every 149 abortions. Considering the attitudes and philosophies of their founder, this is not at all surprising. But it is not all them either. Under the headline 25 years, 25 million lives, the Right to Life of Michigan News states, "The future of as many as 25 million lives is also at stake when looking at the issue of abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court continues to have an outsized influence on national politics and policies. Some legal thinkers and justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have openly suggested that Roe v. Wade did not go far enough in promoting abortion rights, arguing that issues such as requiring tax funded abortions should be guaranteed beyond the realm of legislatures and voters." We need to be excelling at making sure women in the distressed state of an unwanted pregnancy have the chance to fully explore every choice and option, and have adequate help to choose well in the bigger picture, not just take what appears to be the easy way out. Because years of experience have taught us, abortion never ends up being the easy way, even though the pregnancy is gone. Those women visiting the Center, with the emotional scars which remain years after the fact, and the ever present guilt which causes such remarks as, "my child would have been [age] years old this year," are clear examples. Taking a life is easy if you pretend it is not a life, or rationalize it is no different than in nature. But willfully terminating a life casts a long shadow. Choosing life is almost always the very best option. Any real pro-choice person would go out of their way to make sure women, young or old, know that. The choice would still be theirs to make.
"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery,
We can endlessly debate when life begins, and what to call that life. Just because someone claims the unborn child is not a real life, does not make it so. And likewise, just because I believe the developing child to be a real person does not make my perspective correct. Truth is always what God believes. My own beliefs and perspectives are usually arrived at using the questions what would Jesus do, and what is God asking of me? If you do not believe there is a God, or believe that God's perspectives are irrelevant for your life, then you have greater problems and hurdles to overcome than deciding about abortion or who to vote for. I have been on both sides of that coin for about an equal number of years now. I can unequivocally say, placing God in the middle of your life, instead of pushing Him off to the sidelines, makes a night and day difference in the way you perceive things, and how well they play out. Still, it all boils down to the biblical admonition to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So, the most basic question of all is, would you have preferred that your mother aborted you. If you are a person that would actually answer yes to that question, you need to come see me at the Center. We need to explore how you perceive God, His immense love for you, and how truly important your life is to God, indeed to all of us.
THE ABORTION ARTICLE I FOUND MOST INTERESTING IN MY ONLINE SEARCHES
Down Syndrome came up right away in visiting sites about abortion. In the past, it has been stated that 90% of unborn babies diagnosed as having down syndrome are aborted. That is false. The actual number is apparently around two thirds (67%), which is still troublesome in my book. Even pro-life organizations are trying to dispel the erroneous ninety percent figure, because it often has a pro-abort influence on couples. Unless they are already very familiar with down syndrome, they think if such a high percentage of people choose to abort down syndrome babies, there must be a really good reason for it.
I have seen the signs on television declaring, "black lives
matter." Yes, they do, but the broad truth is every life matters, Muslim lives,
Jewish lives, the lives of the poor, lives of the ignorant, and yes, even
unborn lives, including those with down syndrome. A quick easy fix of
eliminating the challenges of down syndrome, or other babies deemed less than
perfect, by simply not allowing them to be born, leaves me stunned and not
even knowing what to say about a future such a choice presents.
"There is no such thing as 'redemptive violence.' Violence
does not save;
As I already said, a culture which disrespects life at any level will soon disrespect life at all levels. Very few people on this planet truly know why they are here, or what they might be trying to accomplish in the larger perspective spiritually. Most of those around me are more liberal on abortion than I personally am, even those who are pro-life. I also do not believe in war, the death penalty, or assisted suicide. To give or take life is God's prerogative. A Muslim life is no less precious to God than an unborn American baby life. War, or even the basic use of military force, is always an admission of failure to accomplish something peacefully. There is nothing noble, glorious, or patriotic about it. While those who end up having to put their lives on the line most assuredly deserve respect, seeing the horror firsthand, they most especially would have hoped for a better way to solve or settle an issue. At age 66, this is what I now believe.
I am aware I have enough struggle just working on my own sin, not the least of which is judgments. Even after years of praying for the ability not to judge others, I can look at a person and their behavior, and find all sorts of evaluations entering into my mind without truly knowing anything about them.
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" - Matthew 7:1-3 (RSV)
I read those verses daily for a long time, and still read them at least once a week. I honestly do not have a problem with anyone else's sin. That is between them and God. But I believe in democracy. I believe I need to participate by voting in elections. And, I believe it is important to vote my conscience. There is little difference in the other aspects of my pro-life philosophies. But there is a stark difference in their abortion stances. That is what lead me to vote pro-life this year, all the way down the ballot.
I was not much of a reader yet when I was in school, I usually passed tests by paying attention in class. To the best of my recollection, creating laws is the venue of Congress, not that of the nine unelected individuals sitting on the Supreme Court. I do not like the trend of nine unelected officials making laws. Even if it were the conservative judges going in this direction, I would see it as dangerous. But the truth is, conservative judges seem to be more constitutionally focused, while the liberal judges appear to always be more oriented toward a social issue standpoint. I believe they are overstepping their bounds. The court system rules on the constitutionality of laws, and interprets those laws deemed valid. As far as I know, they are not supposed to be making the laws. That is the responsibility of the legislative branch of our government. I really do not like the idea of nine unelected officials making significant life impacting laws for the rest of us. That is not my concept of democracy. If liberal courts get to continue making laws, rather than simply ruling on them, there is no limit to the toll they can take on democracy. I already received a political letter from a right to work organization which sees trouble ahead even though the vast majority of Americans support the right to work concept, as opposed to being denied the freedom of choice whether or not to belong to a union. Along with unfettered abortion, ultra-liberal courts usurping the legislative process was an influence. Clinton champions both.
Those who feel marginalized and powerless are not always in one of the "groups" classified as minorities. I suspect these are many of the people Trump has resonated with.
I actually thought about a year ago that I should have something on my website about my views on both abortion and homosexuality. I made a few notes, but then lost interest, and threw them away. Pertaining to the above section, the fallout from the supreme court gay marriage decision has lead me to add the topic here as well.
When Donna and I were married, in order to get married in the church, the pastor required that we actually believe in God, and have some sort of relationship with that particular church. You could not just walk in off the street and demand the use of his services and the church building. Not all pastors feel this way, but considering this pastor's beliefs, it seemed quite reasonable. If it had not seem so, there were plenty of other places to get married. For those of us who take our relationship with God seriously, God comes before all else. Making us criminals for such a belief, or just calling us bigots, does not, and will not, change that. The dissenting judges in the gay marriage case saw significant problems ahead.
With regard to the bakery, one website I read, asking what Jesus would do, concluded He would have baked them a wedding cake. That is one possibility, of course. He was pretty accepting of where people were at in their journeys. But he had many powers at his disposal. Asking what Jesus would do does not mean everyone is going to come up with the same answer. He might have also just spoken a word and change their whole perspective on life, and sex.
One of the first items I copied and pasted for this subject was text quoting Chief Justice John Roberts. It was on a site which printed excerpts from Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, and the Chief Justice writing for the minority opinion, in boxes side by side. Because it resonated with me, I am going to go ahead and include it here, even though some of it is already mentioned above.
I have had good friends who were homosexual all of my adult life. Back in the early 1970s, when I was in real estate, I helped one friend buy his first house so he and his partner could have a stable home for themselves and the son they were adopting. So, let me start by saying that if I were judging it, anyone who attacks or demeans gays, because their struggle to face their truths and find their way in life does not suit the moral standard of the former, should check Scripture about what else is on the list of things deemed sinful. Jesus was pretty clear about the spiritual dangers of judging others. When I am asked about my perspective on homosexuality, I usually begin by quoting the following from the Bible:
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman
I am a divorced man married to a divorced woman. The above quote is Jesus speaking. If I stand convicted from Jesus' own lips for the struggles I have faced in life, on what basis would anyone expect me to stand in judgment of the struggles someone else is dealing with? Do not most denominations teach that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross is because we are incapable of overcoming "sin" on our own?
We need to stop dancing around it, or getting sidetracked. For most of those who strongly condemn homosexuality, the issue is almost always about sex, not love. While not as commonplace as with women, who share feelings more freely, expressions of love from one man about another man are not all that uncommon. You might hear, I love my pastor. I love my dad. I love that guy. The list could go on and on. In attending different gatherings over the years with gay friends, including a primarily gay congregation worship services, I have been asked if I was interested, and even invited to participate sexually. I have simply acknowledged it was not my cup of tea, and thank them for the compliment. My acknowledgement of my solidly heterosexual perspectives was never met with mocking or any pressure. It simply ended the topic (unlike many male female encounters). I believe God loves everybody. It would mean God loves homosexuals just as much as those of us who are heterosexual. That is not the same as God condoning our behaviors. But, heterosexuals are no strangers to sexual choices and behaviors that might not make the grade before God either. It all comes back to judge not. When I was going to college, I worked one summer at Great Lakes steel. A man just a little older than I was, who worked the other shift of my job, stated to me one day that he loved his dad so much he would give him a blow job if his dad wanted one. That is usually where we see the line in the sand being drawn. Nobody objects to loving someone. The objections always come back to being about sex.
Now, here is where I stand. It is not rocket science, sexually speaking, that men and women were designed to fit together. I have been called a bigot and homophobic for making that statement over the years. Ironically, I have not been called that by any gay person. It was always a liberal heterosexual doing so. Therefore, before anyone gets all bent out of shape about it, I do not personally care if two men (or two women) want to be involved sexually. That is between them and God. My job is to learn to love all of His children. Even when invited to participate in something my beliefs would have me turn down. The one problem I do have though, is the idea of treating homosexuality as just an alternative lifestyle that anyone might like to try, just on a whim. As a divorced man married to a divorced woman, I have the same issue with divorce. I do not want divorce being looked at with such casualness that those entering marriage figure it is no big deal — if it does not suit their fancy in a week they can simply file for divorce. I do indeed see such things as part of the brokenness of this world. Every one of us has issues to deal with, which seem contrary to the design we are taught God had for this world. For a long time, I have personally believed that an all-knowing God could not have been caught off guard as the narrative in Genesis might lead one to think. I perceive it is likely we were intended to go down this path. Perhaps God wanted us to learn first-hand about the difference of the way of love, and how superior it is to the path of judgment and condemnation of others. I do not know. Only God knows.
Not that anyone pays much attention to the concept anymore, but marriage legitimizes sex. This is the whole issue for those who object to gay marriage. Few people are going to object to members of the same sex living together (as is the case much of the time through college), cooking for one another, sharing laundry duties, pooling their money to afford things, hanging out together, or a myriad of other things found in marriage. Homosexuals have a tough enough road to haul without my standing in judgment of them. My issue is not even with gay marriage being approved, any more than it was not an issue being asked if I was interested in participating personally. We live in a democracy. My issue is with how gay marriage became the law of the land by nine unelected judges usurping the legislative powers set forth in our Constitution for Congress (the legislative branch of government). And, while it is not as if anyone is required to personally participate sexually, you can now be jailed, fined, fired from your job, or lose your business for simply declining to participate in something you might not believe in as valid. The case of the photographer who was sued particularly caught my eye. I have been to heterosexual wedding receptions that went out of bounds for my comfort levels. I simply take a walk, or leave early. If I were a person who strongly objected to homosexuality, by what standard of freedom does the law require me to be there photographing any behavior I might deem inappropriate, including the wedding itself?
On the overall question of same-sex couples being allowed to wed, Justice Kennedy (writing for the majority) concluded with a thought provoking statement. I still agree with Chief Justice Roberts that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds, deciding something for the rest of us that should have worked its way through the legislative process as our constitution intended, but I would like to share it here.
One more week and the clutter of yard signs will disappear. Our mailboxes and our phones can get back to normal. The core teaching I emphasized to my children, and am currently doing so with our sixteen-year-old grandson, is that all choices have consequences . . . some good . . . some not so good . . . some outright bad. I suggest they always try to choose wisely, because the consequences of their choices are theirs to live. This is not just true for individuals, but collectively as well. Not voting is a choice. Democracy is a participatory form of government. We may not like some of the outcomes, but if you choose to be not even involved enough to put a little mark on a piece of paper, or flip a lever on a machine, I am not interested in hearing you complain later that you are unhappy with our government. Not voting is a choice to remain a part of the problem, rather than participating in trying to find solutions.
As a true independent, this has been the most difficult election decision I can ever remember facing, and I have voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to do so. Even if you are voting directly opposite of me, I urge you to vote. Democracy only truly works when everyone is respectfully participating and feels free to express their perspectives (even if a little heated at times).
I went to Lansing on October 4th to pray with Franklin Graham and other Christians on his fifty state tour of our country throughout 2016. I agree wholeheartedly with Franklin Graham that neither major political party can solve the challenges facing our nation. Only God can pull us out of the quagmire we have created by our own choices. God loves us all, every single one of us, gay, straight, Muslim, those considering an abortion, judgmental individuals, Trump, Clinton, you and me. Putting Him in the middle of your life works. To borrow a phrase from Donald Trump's playbook — what do we really have to lose — by giving God the chance to show you the truth of how much you are loved?
For me, elections in the United States of America have never been about who wins. They are about the greatness found in the system of how we peacefully change our leaders. That is why I vote every time. And I marvel at the wisdom of our founding fathers, and what a great gift from God such freedom is, every time I do.
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