“Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light”.
James Russell Lowell, Boston Courier, December 11, 1845
It’s finally here.
It marks the end of the most amazing, unpredictable, unprecedented and deeply controversial presidential campaign of the modern era.
Never in our history has this nation been forced to choose between two candidates like these.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are profoundly unpopular. Nearly 70% of the American people believe they both are dishonest and untrustworthy. Nothing these two candidates have said in recent weeks has done anything but deepen that distrust.
Let’s face it. This presidential campaign has been a fascinating but uninspiring event.
There’s been nothing uplifting about it. It’s been almost painful to watch.
We could say this campaign’s been beneath the dignity of a great and free people. Or we could be honest and admit it’s a mirror reflection of our declining culture.
Trump and Clinton have been nominated by the two great political parties of this country.
They are us.
They represent the poetic justice of our larger choices and values. We don’t like these candidates. But in our hearts we know we deserve them.
“Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34, KJV).
That reproach has fallen upon America this year.
The vultures of moral decay always come home to roost.
On the evening the FBI was announcing it was re-opening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the TV news ticker was scrolling that the Supreme Court would hear the appealed case of a transgendered youth.
The announcements belonged together. They’re connected.
This is post-modern America. This is the new day. This is the present morality. This is restraints cast off.
We could end up next week with a president-elect under FBI scrutiny; an administration hounded by scandal and distrust from day one.
Put in office by a country of jaded voters who increasing can’t discern and don’t care.
Some of you have voted. Most of you have not.
Now “comes the moment to decide”. Each of us must determine what’s right in this year-long “strife of truth with falsehood”. It may not be so easy to discern “the good or evil side” when neither candidate is admirable.
Still, for each of us, this is a “great decision”.
The stakes are high. We dare not walk away.
Christian leaders have been all over the political map. It’s hard to find the safe middle ground this year – there isn’t any.
Each side fears the abyss if the other wins.
As a follower of Jesus, I struggled with my own morality as I tried to assess the morality of my choices.
My vote mattered and I couldn’t throw it away on a write-in or a candidate with no chance to win.
I don’t know what Donald Trump will do as president. I do know what Hillary Clinton will do. That was my first hurdle – I know her. I know her party platform. I know her agenda. I know her character.
She has said repeatedly that she will place on the Supreme Court justices who will “uphold marriage equality [homosexual marriage] and a woman’s right to choose” [abortion on demand].
Trump released a list of his potential court picks – all of them conservatives committed to the meaning of the Constitution rather than an ideological agenda.
The Supreme Court could be the next president’s lasting legacy – a court able to shape American law and life for generations.
On economic policy, health care, immigration, defense and foreign policy, I found my own thinking at odds with that of Hillary Clinton and her party.
Donald Trump’s sins of the flesh are vile and despicable. His temperament seems undisciplined, his manner obnoxious. His language is often careless and mean-spirited; his positions sometimes ill-considered.
He’s not presidential; she’s a seasoned and experienced politician.
He’ll try and change things; she not so much.
In the end, I decided that his personal weaknesses pose less of a threat to the Republic than her pervasive corruption and lust for power and money.
My vote was cast in faith – not in Trump but in God. I did my best.
You must reach your own decision on these candidates. Like a flu shot, it will only hurt for a moment.
King Saul was removed by God from the throne of Israel because of his deceit, greed and disobedience to God’s commands.
He misled his nation.
King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, repented and was forgiven by God and restored.
He led his nation to greatness.
No leader is perfect. That can’t be our expectation.
The outcome of this election – as all else both great and small – rests in the mighty hands of our sovereign God. His purpose – whatever that may be – will be fulfilled when the votes are counted.
Whether we cheer or bemoan next Tuesday, let’s not forget this.
Our God reigns. That is our best hope. It’s our only hope. It’s a firm hope.
“Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own”.