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God not making endorsements in Hawaii's election

Posted by: Website Admin on 10/24/2010

The 2010 election cycle has been a strange one. There have been many outside groups moving into Hawaii over the last few months whose purpose has been to insert a distorted interpretation of Christianity into our gubernatorial election, bringing a message that separates and divides God's children.

First it was the Christian Voter Academies that were held in church after church, and then it was the outrageous statements of both the Republican Party chairman and the Hawaii Family Forum leaders.

Now it is a whisper campaign on the Internet and in the pews about who is the right candidate for governor. The International Transformational Network, famous for its link to the death penalty law for gays in Uganda, is the most extreme; it is working against civil unions. But there are a host of others, including Focus on the Family.

Looking at the mainland where bullying has led to a number of suicides, where extreme right-wing evangelicals are protesting at the funerals of fallen service men and women, and where far-right pastors threaten to burn the holy books of other faiths, it is easy to say again "lucky we live Hawaii." Hawaii has long been a beacon of tolerance. The men and women who built our state were conscious of this and hoped for Hawaii to be a light to the rest of America. Think of the late Gov. Jack Burns' work during the war to dampen the anti-Japanese hysteria (much like the anti-Muslim hysteria today) and Congressman Tom Gill's hard-nosed work to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among many others.

As pastors and citizens of Hawaii, we are proud of our reputation for tolerance, for the way we participate in living aloha. But we are concerned about the fact that in this political season, more than any other in our lifetime, so many people have tried to use religion to divide us.

In the past, Hawaii has suffered when the flames of religious intolerance have burned hot. In St. Damien's day and before, Roman Catholics suffered persecution at the hands of the Protestants, and Mormons had to flee their homes in Illinois and Missouri, later finding homes in places like Utah and Hawaii. During the 1930s and 1940s, Buddhists were persecuted severely.

Many religious leaders in Hawaii affirm religious freedom, and we reject any attempt to rigidly define any faith as belonging to something as transitory and secular as a political party. God is not a Democrat or a Republican, and God is not making endorsements in Hawaii's 2010 election.

Finally, a word to our fellow Christians. We beseech you, our brothers and sisters, to not conflate the transcendent message of Jesus Christ with the platform of the Republican or Democratic Party. Tying God to a secular power didn't even work for the ancient Israelites; how much less will it work for you? Worse yet, demonizing gays, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or any group of people, does not serve God. Instead it serves God's Adversary, as it promotes hate instead of love, fear instead of hope, and bigotry instead of charity.

Jesus Christ brought people together. He did not separate people. As disciples of Christ, this is our purpose.

Tags: elections | FACE | god |
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