Uniting and Healing the United States

i voted

The American people have spoken: they have elected a Trump Presidency. But we stand, deeply divided; one poll shows that nearly half of people on both major parties fear the other side, and Clinton appears to have won the popular vote by a small margin. This makes it difficult to move forward, together. We want to help, so we’re including both the acceptance and concession speeches, for the promise they both hold.

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech showed more promise than any of his campaign rhetoric to date. He opened by graciously congratulating his opponent, Secretary Clinton, from whom he’d received a call, saying that “She fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely.” And he went on to say what one might hope he’d say. Here’s the text:

Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country. As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement, made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family. It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people — and serve the people it will. Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I’ve gotten to know our country so well. Tremendous potential. It is going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it. We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal, and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey.The time I’ve spent with them during this campaign has been among my greatest honors. Our veterans are incredible people. We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal. I will harness the creative talents of our people, and we will call upon the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all. It is going to happen. We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships. No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country, and beautiful things and successful things once again. I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone. All people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict…. “

After thanking a vast array of people – notably not God – Trump went on to close with a note about the historic nature of the event, a word about the need to do a great job, and a promise not to let us down, saying he looks forward to being our president. He hoped that after two or more years, we’d say it was something we were really proud do do. Then he thanked the crowd and viewers, adding “I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning. We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people, and we’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your President. You will be so proud. Again, it’s my honor. It’s an amazing evening. It’s been an amazing two-year period, and I love this country. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Hillary Clinton’s Concession speech was also very graceful, and is worth reading and considering. After thanking the crowd with love and noting how she’d congratulated Donald Trump and offered to works for him, hoping he’d be a successful president. Though she acknowledged it wasn’t the outcome she’d hoped, she did express pride and gratitude for a “vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign,” which she felt represented the best of America.

“Our campaign was never about one person or even one election, it was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted. We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things; the rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them. Now — and let me add, our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear; making our economy work for everyone not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet and breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams. We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone. So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will…

Clinton, like Trump, took time to thank a number of people. She joked about the support she got on secret, private Facebook sites, and wanting people “out from behind that and make sure your voices are heard going forward.” Then she went on:

And to the young people in particular, I hope you will hear this. I have, as Tim said, spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes, really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional public and political careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is — it is worth it. And so we need — we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And — and to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams. Finally, I am so grateful for our country and for all it has given to me. I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us. Because, you know — you know, I believe we are stronger together and we will go forward together. And you should never, ever regret fighting for that. You know, scripture tells us, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” So my friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do. I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.

One hope is that the tone of the next presidency will be more like the tone of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, and less like the tone of the campaign. We have seen it before: the mantle of a great office can change a person for the better. The opportunity to heal the wounds that have split our country, and to focus on our compassionate natures, cultivating our better selves, is at hand. We can now redouble our efforts to protect the vulnerable, and help the helpless.

And at the same time, we know the Kingdom of God is within us, and available to us always. Leaders come and go, and God is forever with us. Knowing that God’s providential hand is ultimately in control, we can access the peace that transcends understanding, and embrace the saying of Julian of Norich: “and all shall be well.”

We will close with the historic declaration that we posted some months earlier, regarding the campaign. We keep it here in the sincere hope that these concerns from a wide array of leaders will be kept in mind by the new administration, vigilant civil servants, jurists, the Fourth Estate, and all patriotic citizens and friends:

A Declaration by American Evangelicals Concerning Donald Trump
Imperfect elections and flawed candidates often make for complicated and difficult choices for Christians. But sometimes historic moments arise when more is at stake than partisan politics–when the meaning and integrity of our faith hangs in the balance. This is one of those moments. A significant mistake in American politics is the media’s continued identification of “evangelical” with mostly white, politically conservative, older men. We are not those evangelicals. The media’s narrow labels of our community perpetuate stereotypes, ignore our diversity, and fail to accurately represent views expressed by the full body of evangelical Christians. We are Americans of African and European descent, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American. We are women and men, as well as younger and older evangelical Christians. We come from a wide range of denominations, churches, and political orientations. We believe in the unity of the body of Christ, but we acknowledge the diverse nature of a community whose faith is biblical and evangelical. And we are growing. Given the rich diversity within our unity, we call upon the political world to hear all our voices, and for the media to acknowledge that the evangelical community is quite diverse. As evangelical Christians, we believe our hope and allegiance rests in the person of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, and Lord of our lives. That is why no politician, party, movement, or nation can ever command our ultimate loyalty. As citizens both of the Kingdom of God and this world, we vote with humility, knowing that our favored candidates always fall short of biblical values. We recognize that despite our unity in Christ, we will inevitably disagree about which political stances come closest to the heart of God for our nation. We believe that the centrality of Christ, the importance of both conversion and discipleship, the authority of the Scriptures, and the “good news” of the gospel, especially for the poor and vulnerable, should prevail over ideological politics, and that we must respond when evangelicalism becomes dangerously identified with one particular candidate whose statements, practice, personal morality, and ideology risk damaging our witness to the gospel before the watching world. We believe that racism strikes at the heart of the gospel; we believe that racial justice and reconciliation is at the core of the message of Jesus. We believe the candidacy of Donald J. Trump has given voice to a movement that affirms racist elements in white culture—both explicit and implicit. Regardless of his recent retraction, Mr. Trump has spread racist “birther” falsehoods for five years trying to delegitimize and humiliate our first African-American president, characterizing him as “the other” and not a real American citizen. He uses fear to demonize and degrade immigrants, foreigners, and people from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. He launched his presidential campaign by demonizing Mexicans, immigrants, and Muslims, and has repeatedly spoken against migrants and refugees coming to this country—those whom Jesus calls “the stranger” in Matthew 25, where he says that how we treat them is how we treat him. Trump has steadily refused to clearly and aggressively confront extremist voices and movements of white supremacy, some of whom now call him their “champion,” and has therefore helped to take the dangerous fringes of white nationalism in America to the mainstream of politics. Mr. Trump has fueled white American nationalism with xenophobic appeals and religious intolerance at the expense of gospel values, democratic principles, and important international relationships. He mocks women and the sanctity of marriage vows, disregards facts and the accountability to truth, and worships wealth and shameful materialism, while taking our weakening culture of civility to nearly unprecedented levels with continuing personal attacks on others, including attacking a federal judge based purely on his Mexican heritage, mocking a disabled reporter, and humiliating a beauty pageant winner for her weight and Latina ethnicity—to give just a few examples. Because we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back. Donald Trump’s campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see. For this reason, we cannot ignore this bigotry, set it aside, just focus on other issues, or forget the things Mr. Trump has consistently said and done. No matter what other issues we also care about, we have to make it publicly clear that Mr. Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians, as we attempt to model Jesus’ command to “love your neighbors as yourself.” Whether we support Mr. Trump’s political opponent is not the question here. Hillary Clinton is both supported and distrusted by a variety of Christian voters. We, undersigned evangelicals, simply will not tolerate the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that Donald Trump has consistently and deliberately fueled, no matter how else we choose to vote or not to vote. ;We see this election as a significant teachable moment for our churches and our nation to bring about long-needed repentance from our racial sin. Out of this belief we have written this declaration, inviting you to be part of what we have learned from one another and long to see in the churches and the world—a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human lives. We invite you to stand with us, join in this declaration, and pass it along to your friends, congregants, pastors, students, and the diverse evangelical church.
Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor, The Park Church *
Onleilove Alston, Executive Director, Faith in NY*
Dr. Leroy Barber, Executive Director, The Voices Project*
Rev. William Barber, President, Repairers of the Breach*
Katelyn Beaty, Print Managing Editor, Christianity Today*
Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie, General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention*
Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America*
Rev. Jonathan E.L. Brooks, Senior Pastor, Canaan Community Church, Chicago*
Deborah Brunt, Blogger and Author*
Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo, Author and Activist*
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Author*
Dr. Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director, Mission Year*
Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer, CCDA*
Rev. Eugene Cho, Pastor, Author, Activist*
Rev. Dr. Rich Cizik, President and Founder, New Evangelical Partnership*
Shane Claiborne, Author, Activist, and Co-Founder of Red Letter Christians*
Shani Dowell, Mother, Wife, Educator*
Rev. Joshua DuBois, Founder and CEO, Values Partnerships, Washington, DC; President Obama’s “Pastor in Chief”*
Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Baptist Church*
Rev. Dr. Bob Ekblad, General Director, Tierra Nueva*
Michael O. Emerson, Author*
Jason Fileta, Executive Director, Micah Challenge USA*
Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Director of the Religion Department, Chautauqua Institution*
Rev. Dominique Gilliard, New Hope Covenant Church*
Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America*
Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality, CBEInternational*
Rev. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church*
Lisa Sharon Harper, Chief Church Engagement Officer, Sojourners*
Rev. Fred Harrell, Senior Pastor, City Church, San Francisco*
Rev. Dr. Bethany Harris, Church & Community Consultant, ReQuip Community*
Rachel Held Evans*
Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology, New York Theological Seminary*
Christopher L. Heuertz, Founding Partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism*
Dr. Mike Higgins, Covenant Theological Seminary*
Michelle Higgins, Director of Faith for Justice, Director of Worship and Outreach, South City Church in Saint Louis, MO*
Rev. Daniel Hill, River City Community Church*
Al Hsu, Editor and Author*
David Husby, Director, Covenant World Relief*
Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development*
Carolyn Custiss James, Author*
Dr. Russell Jeung, Author and Professor, New Hope Covenant Church*
David W. Kersten, Dean, North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago*
Kathy Khang, Writer, Speaker, Activist*
Larry Kim, Cambridge Community Fellowship Church*
Ambassador Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church*
Rev. Carlos Malave, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together in the USA*
Rev. Michael A. Mata, Associate Pastor, Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene*
Rev. Dr. Walter Arthur McCray, President, National Black Evangelical Association*
Rev. Brian D. McLaren, Author, former Pastor, Board Chair, Convergenceus.org*
David Neff, retired Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today, former Vice Chair, National Association of Evangelicals*
Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention*
Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship*
Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary*
Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil*
SueAnn Shiah, Musician, Writer, Filmmaker*
Rev. Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action*
Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute; Co-chair, National African American Clergy Network*
Andrea Smith, NAIITS*
Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair of the National African American Clergy Network, Former President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church of Metro Atlanta*
Maria-Jose Soerens, Executive Director, Puentes*
Rev. Gail Song-Bantum, Executive Pastor, Quest Church*
Rev. Margot Starbuck
Rev. David Swanson, New Community Covenant Church, Chicago*
Rev. Greg Thompson, Trinity Presbyterian Church*
Lenore Three Stars, Oglala Lakota*
Rev. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America*
Rev. Jemar L. Tisby, President and Co-Founder, Reformed African American Network*
Rev. Dr. Al Tizon, North Park Theological Seminary*
Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Author and Speaker*
Rev. Harold Dean Trulear, National Director, Healing Communities USA*
Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Speaker, Author, Activist*
Rev. Gary VanderPol, Author, Senior Pastor, Church Without Walls, Berkeley, CA*
Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University*
Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners*
Michelle Warren, Advocacy & Policy Engagement Director, CCDA*
Rev. Colin P. Watson Sr., Director of Ministries and Administration, Christian Reformed Church in North America*
Dr. Daniel White Hodge, Director of Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Associate Professor of Youth Ministry, North Park University*
Rev. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author and Director, School for Conversion*
Sarah Withrow King, Interim Director, Evangelicals for Social Action*
Dr. John D. Witvliet, Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship*
Judy Wu Dominick, Writer, Activist*
Rev. Ken Wytsma, Lead Pastor, Antioch Church; President, Kilns College*
Rev. Dr. Raymond Bakke, Theologian, Author, Educator, Urban Church Leader*
Dr. Fletcher L. Tink, Director, PhD Program in Transformational Development, Asia Graduate School of Theology, Manila, the Philippines*
Rev. Dr. Lauren Speeth, Director, NHM Ministrants*
Organizations and titles listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the institution.

The word sabotage has its origins in France, where workers with no other access to power actually threw their shoes – sabot in French – into the machines, to gum up the works. Would this be another explanation for Trump’s big win? If so, how can we get the “democracy machine” to work better, for all our people?  President Elect Trump took a great a step by asking the American people,  “Tell us your story: how do you want to make America great?” at  https://apply.ptt.gov/yourstory/  It was a chance to share hopes and dreams with the POTUS and staffers, in hopes that they will be considered in the coming years.   

May God bless America, and God Bless our beautiful world. Now, let’s get to work, spreading hope and healing.

Peace & Blessings,
Your friends at NHM Ministrants
November, 2016

Categories Featured Articles | Tags: | Posted on October 6, 2016

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