Unity and Politics

“That we all may be one” is a phrase politicians are thinking about these days as well as ecumenists. At least one of the considerations (and not an unimportant one) Senators McCain and Obama have in their choice of running mates is who will best help them unify their parties.

Whether that is a gender balance with Obama choosing Clinton and/or McCain choosing Kay Bailey Hutchinson; or an experience balance with Obama choosing Joe Biden or Sam Nunn for foreign policy experience and McCain considering Mitt Romney or Mike Huckaby for gubernatorial domestic and economic perspective — at least as important for them is finding someone who can unite the disparate factions of their own political parties.

That’s certainly important, I suppose, in the short run. But I hope and pray that the theme of unity will also extend into the Presidential campaign itself and the tone taken in debates and TV commercials. Both presumptive candidates at least have the possibility of reminding us all that we are Americans first and Democrats or Republicans or Independents second.

No one party has a monopoly on approaches or solutions to the manifold problems we face and surely no one party has, or will likely have, the votes in Congress to turn those approaches into meaningful legislation unless truly bipartisan consensus can be reached. On the surface, this country looks hopelessly divided in so many ways. Yet, surely, the vast majority of us want to return to a more peaceful world, to close the widening gap between rich and poor, to regain honor and respect for the United States around the globe.

As we work for unity among Christians within and between the churches, let us not fail to pray and work for unity in our own communities, across this country, and for the whole human family. For we, of all people should know it is God’s desire “that we all may be one.”   

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