Lift Every Voice
by Lori Heine
“Lift every voice and sing, ‘til earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty…”
(Traditional African-American Spiritual)
As yet another major election draws nigh, I hear many say they don’t plan to vote. It is particularly distressing to hear LGBT and other minority Christians say this. In many countries, women and minorities still cannot vote. In some, LGBT people are killed. Here in the United States, all citizens are blessed with the right to cast a ballot, yet some choose not to.
By all means, I will vote. Until my grandmother was an adult, women were excluded from the electoral process. Had she been born a few years earlier, as a young woman she would have been barred from it. I am determined to make my voice heard.
There are many ways Christians can express their views. But voting is one of the most effective. Those who oppose LGBT rights seldom fail to cast their ballots, and they often cite their Christian faith as “justification” for why they vote as they do. We need to be sure not only that we are counted, but that we, too, are counted as Christians.
The Gospel of Christ must be represented in its entirety. That means one side, in a hotly-contended issue, must not be allowed to represent itself as the only option for Christians. Fear, ignorance and mean-spiritedness are not genuine Gospel values. Yet the opponents of gay rights are so loud, and so insistent that their view is the Christian position, that many people honestly believe that.
As a writer, I have the opportunity to say, publicly, that I vote the way I do because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. Contrary to what some might claim, I am anything but an opponent of the Christian faith. But we don’t need to be writers in order to make this truth known loud and clear. When we vote, we can all tell others we chose to pull the lever as we did because we are Christians. We can make it known that there are Christians who actually support justice and equal protection under the law for everyone.
Let every Christian voice be lifted for liberty and love. Let’s help make being a disciple of Christ something for which no one need feel ashamed. We must stand up proudly, in this world, as those who belong to Jesus. If we do this, He has promised that, to His Father in Heaven, He will one day introduce us as His own.
© 2012 Lori Heine
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