A Statement of Conscience from Presbyterians in Mission Presbytery

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Taking the High Ground in Texas

Texas is not generally a swing state, though if congressional and state representation districts were drawn differently, more states would have fewer permanent incumbents. Until the Electoral College is eliminated, the votes of some states will be valued more highly than those in other states, “safe” for whichever political party controls redistricting. Until our election commissions are professionalized and made nonpartisan, partisanship (of course) will prevail and voting customs will vary widely between states. But a good number of ministers and members of Mission Presbytery in South Texas decided to speak out, not on a particular party or policies, but on political speech itself, as a matter of Christian conscience. Let us thank them for their witness— picked up in the local paper. The did not take a swing—theirs is not a swing faith—but they took a stand. Praise God! And let’s remember what they said:

October 2016

In this presidential election season, public discourse has taken a tone so contrary to our Christian vision of society that we, members of Mission Presbytery, are compelled to speak out.

Mission Presbytery Signed StatementWe reaffirm our commitment to the Kingdom that Jesus preached, lived out, and commanded us to seek as a first priority. Even as we confess our own complicity in the sins of our society, we cannot remain silent when the very worst of human instincts are on public display. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to embrace his vision of peace and justice in which the poor receive good news, the captives are released, the blind receive their sight, and all the oppressed are set free.

Therefore:

We stand against…

  • All forms of racial bigotry whether in public speech, governmental policies, or society’s institutions.
  • All vulgar, disrespectful language and actions that demean women.
  • All attempts to malign the most vulnerable people in our society–be they immigrants, the mentally and physically disabled, those in the LGBT community, and any others who are the targets of hate and ridicule.
  • All attempts to falsely stereotype any segment of our society that only fuels prejudice and incites anger.

We stand for…

  • Public discourse that honors all people as beloved children of God.
  • Public policies that respect the rights and seek to guarantee the safety of all Americans.
  • The conviction that our society will be judged on how we treat the lease among us.

We resolve…

That whatever the outcome of the current presidential election, the mission of the church will remain unchanged. We will continue God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, even as we wait and pray for the new heaven and new earth that is surely coming.

Some accompanying scriptures: Matthew 6:33; Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 11:6-9; Matthew 5:9; Galatians 3:28; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 4:16-19; Revelation 21:1-4.

Read more articles in The Election Issue!

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A Presbyterian Affirmation for Election Day

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The Message to the Margins: An Election Lamentation and Call to Action

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