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Rev. Harry T. Cook of Clawson (Detroit) says...

I do not know Rev. Harry T. Cook -- how could I -- but here is what a respected Australian church source has forwarded in my country: The text of Harry's message about the up-coming US election, just days away.

All I ask is that American voters, who would say that democracy is the ideal for everyone, should practice what they preach and VOTE rather than wonder later what might have happened if they had voted.

Please consider.


Nov. 5, 2006

A Sermon for Election-Tide II

By Harry T. Cook

Two years ago this Sunday, I delivered a sermon that laid out the moral choices American voters would have to make the following Tuesday. I ticked off how George W. Bush had carried America far from its ideals of domestic peace and tranquility, how he had robbed the national treasury to reward the wealthy with enormous tax cuts, how he had led the nation into a pre-emptive invasion and war with a sovereign nation and how he had lied to the world in
the process.

I said that such policies were incompatible with the prophetic wisdom of the gospels and the ethic of Jesus, and that people who took that wisdom and ethic seriously would and should have a hard time in voting that regime back
into power for another term.

A number of people walked out on the sermon at one service. It was greeted with sustained applause at another. One family left the parish for good – actually for the better, insofar as many of us were concerned. While it was threatened, apparently no one reported me to the IRS, as one of my colleagues in a California church was reported, for alleged electioneering from the pulpit.

Nevertheless, I have been cautioned by people I trust that another such a homiletic effort might endanger the rax-exempt status of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Detroit suburb of Clawson, the parish I have served for 19 years; and that I should refrain from reprising the election-tide sermon of 2004 this year.

So I have taken the Sunday off because I could not be in the pulpit at St. Andrew’s without being straight-forward about what is at stake (again) in a national election. My “sermon” will be presented only in this electronic medium, and, if there are consequences to it they will be my own, not St. Andrew’s, to confront.

* * * * *

Here we are on the eve of another general election in which all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be filled and roughly a third of those in the U.S. Senate. Michigan will also be electing a governor, some state senators and all of its representatives. Not to mention a referendum that would, by the muddying of its ballot language, convince the unsuspecting voter that by voting Yes s/he would be supporting affirmative action when exactly the opposite is so.

More broadly, nothing has changed, except for the worse, since November 2004. The war in Iraq has sown the seeds of chaos and nourished them into terrifying maturity with the blood of more than 2,800 American military dead and as many as 655,000 Iraqi civilians. Millions of Americans are still
without adequate health care insurance. The rich have only gotten richer and the poor poorer.

Demagoguery still flourishes as the rightist religio-political fringe continues to hurl its phony-baloney “values” thunderbolts into the already charged atmosphere of fierce partisanship and dirty-tricks campaigning. The Rovian machine grinds on. Meanwhile, not a few historians of politics are saying that George W. Bush may turn out to be the worst President ever. From this vantage it surely seems that way.

He has surrounded himself (or they have surrounded him) with such ultra-conservative hawks as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz – all creatures of the Project for The New American Century, which planned and advocated for the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the occupation of
Iraq well before 9/11. It was 9/11 that gave them their opening to tie by outright falsehoods the perpetrators of 9/11 – probably al-Qaeda – to Iraq and Hussein.

Bush wrung from a pusillanimous Congress what was deceitfully called a noble compromise on the detaining, interrogation and prosecution of alleged terrorists. The new law – if one dares call it by that name – actually gives
the President the right to suspend the right of habeas corpus, to permit torture techniques and to try, convict and sentence to death defendants in military courts on hearsay evidence or testimony extracted by torture.

In many and various ways, Bush and his cohort have besmirched the image of the land of the free and the home of the brave in the eyes of the world. And, what’s worse, they seem not to care about it. To add insult to injury, Bush recently signed an executive order asserting the United States’ right to deny perceived adversaries access to space, saying at the same time that the U.S. would not tolerate any restrictions on its own access to space.

So much for the sentiment of the psalmist: The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Now space – SPACE!! – is to be fenced off? What’s next?

Anyone in sync with the ethic of Jesus of Nazareth knows that its terms of turning the other cheek, loving the enemy and doing to others as one would have done to oneself are non-negotiable. They apply to all levels of human relationships from the most individual and intimate to the geo-political ones, as Gandhi taught us. Knowing that should make the choices before Christian voters on Tuesday pretty clear.

Thus, assuming there are no more than the usual efforts to disenfranchise minorities and others who might vote for other than Bush-ite candidates, we shall see, come the early morning hours of Nov. 8, what choices the American electorate has actually made.

Would it make a difference if the Democrats took back the U.S. House of Representatives and maybe the Senate, even by small margins? Yes, if only as a message to the Administration that just enough Americans are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. It is a message that very much needs to be sent.

© Copyright 2006, Harry T. Cook. All rights reserved. This article may not be used or reproduced without proper credit.

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