How (Not for Whom) I'm Voting on November 4

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Yesterday I received a short essay in my email inbox that perfectly spoke my mind and heart regarding the upcoming American presidential election. It was written by a friend and colleague, Rev. Jim Burklo, a United Church of Christ minister, leading voice within Progressive Christanity, and author of Open Christianity: Home by Another Road and the recently released, Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Jim has graciously allowed me to re-post his inspiring, prophetic piece below. If you like what you read, pease visit Jim's blog, Musings, as well as the website for The Center for Progressive Christianity. You'll find lots of great stuff in both places!

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I'm voting on November 4 not just for myself, but for my friends Jenny and Peter and their children in Sweden, my friend Angel and his family in Mexico City, and for many people around the world whose names I don't know - hundreds of millions of them with a strong opinion of whom they want to be president of the United States. Their hopes and fears hinge on how I choose to vote. I'm voting to restore America's severely damaged reputation, and renew our nation's much-needed leadership for progress, decency, and freedom around the world.

I'm voting to preserve the new-found right of same-sex couples to marry. As a pastor, I have seen the tears of joy of two men as they stood before me and made their wedding vows. It is hard for me to imagine anyone voting to deny such couples the legal right to marry, after having witnessed such a blessed event.

I'm voting for a strong, sensibly-managed, sparingly-used military. I'm voting for carrots now and sticks later. I'm voting for going many extra miles to let aggrieved nations and their leaders feel respected, even if we don't like them, even if it requires America to eat some humble pie, if it can advance the cause of peace.

I'm voting for an end to the "war" on terror...

Scattered bands of murderers who live in caves or use developmentally-disabled people as suicide bombers should not be dignified by our declaration of "war" against them. I'm voting for vigorous "police action" against them, and voting for greatly energized efforts through humanitarian aid and positive propaganda to deny them new recruits.

I'm voting for greater numbers of Americans to get health coverage, not for schemes that would have the effect of increasing the number of the uninsured - 45 million and counting, an unacceptable shame on our nation.

I'm voting for fewer petty criminals to be kept indefinitely in our bloated prison-industrial complex. I'm voting for common-sense, flexible sentencing laws that let judges use their judgment.

I'm voting for future Supreme Court justices who believe that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare. I'm voting for future cabinet members who will not tolerate torture or injustice toward detainees.

I'm voting for long-term, prudent regulation of financial markets, to prevent a repeat of the current debacle, which is a consequence of deregulation, speculation, and unsecured derivatives. As I'm voting for health care for all people, I'm voting for health insurance for the economy, stiffening the rules in order to facilitate vibrant, sustainable capitalism.

I'm voting for preservation of the California coast and the wilderness of Alaska. I'm voting for "shine, baby, shine" - solar, cellulosic ethanol, and other sustainable energy sources.

I'm voting for real science in the public schools and theological teachings like "creationism" and "intelligent design" to take their rightful place in fundamentalist Sunday schools. I'm voting for reality-based government policies on global warming, family planning, and stem-cell research.

I'm voting for an end to a long-dominant ideology that says that government is our enemy. Sure enough, the people who said that government is bad took over our government, ran it badly, and then used their terrible performance as evidence for their initial assumption. I'm voting to put that bankrupt ideology in its proper place in the political spectrum, once and for all - on the radical fringe. I'm voting for a government that will be our friend: regulating a lively, free market, providing services and protections that the market cannot deliver, and helping make the world safe and secure not just for us, but for all people on the planet.

I'm voting to end the politics of letting the country rot while waiting for a happy afterlife, and I'm voting to begin the politics of bringing heaven down to earth, building the New Jerusalem of abundance and harmony in Cleveland, Baltimore, South Central Los Angeles, and everywhere else. I'm voting for hope. And I hope you'll join me when you step behind the curtain and vote on November 4!