Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith and media:

Like witnessing a slow-motion seemingly-inevitable train wreck, we sit and watch as the election approaches. The oligarchs of the globalist corporately-owned media (and their far-from independent reporters) continue to reflexively add the disclaimer “without evidence” to any utterance of concern (especially President Trump or his supporters) over the potential for significant election fraud and/or confusion resulting from millions of unrequested mail-in ballots being sent out to voters across the country before Election Day. To this observer, “without common sense” would be the more appropriate clarifying term – but it should be applied to those who actually force skeptics (like me) to enumerate the extremely-foreseeable problems.  Let’s take them, one by one.

  1. Are these ballots being mailed to many voters who have either died or moved? The answer is, obviously, yes. Is it really beyond reason to concerned that several of these ballots could be filled out and sent back by persons other than the intended recipient? With people on both sides feeling as passionately as they do about this election, what does your common sense tell you?
  2. Assuming the ballot is received by its intended recipient, how can a secret ballot be ensured? How many (perhaps frail) people live with lunatics of a left or right political persuasion (maybe an abusive spouse) who will simply bully them to vote for their desired candidate? Is there any real protection against this happening? What does your common sense tell you?
  3. What about the accepted security principle known as “chain of custody“? In criminal trials, for instance, the prosecution is required to document that all evidence (i.e. DNA) is handled properly with an unbroken chain of custody. With in-person voting, that chain is essentially quite short – from the voter to the machine tabulating his or her vote. With mail-in voting, that chain is much longer and looser. There are legitimate concerns over the practice of ballot harvesting, a practice that allows political operatives and others to collect voters’ ballots and turn them in en masse to polling stations. What could possibly go wrong?  Then there’s the fact that the National Association of Letter Carriers has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Not to cast aspersions on postal workers but that doesn’t exactly help the chain’s credibility.  Will all this cause a lot of people to question the validity of mail-in ballots? What does your common sense tell you?
  4. Once received, mail-in ballots are much more likely than those cast in a voting booth to be rejected for often controversial technical reasons (i.e. they lacked a postmark or signature, were somehow damaged or simply arrived too late). Shouldn’t anyone genuinely concerned about voter suppression be encouraging in-person voting (with appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols) over much more iffy mail-in voting? If, as Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggests, people feel safe enough to wear a mask and stand in line for a coffee at Starbucks, should doing essentially the same thing to vote be deemed beyond the pale? What does your common sense tell you?
  5. Does anyone truly want to see a so-called “red (or blue) mirage“? That, of course, is the dreaded possibility that the Electoral College tally favors one candidate on Election Night but another when all the uncounted mail-in votes are factored in. It’s a scenario that’s sure to have half the country crying foul and viewing whoever (after drawn out and divisive fights in the courts and, even worse, in the streets) is eventually named the winner. Can that possibly be good for our democracy? What does your common sense tell you?

On top of it all, to avoid this looming disaster, people are being encouraged to vote early – before the debates that (as imperfect as they are) have, in other elections, played a vital role in helping the electorate make informed decisions about how well the candidates handle themselves in unscripted circumstances.

Left remarkably undiscussed are ways to reduce voter worries about voting in person. For example, couldn’t large in-person voting venues be open for a couple of weeks prior to Election Day, thereby maximizing the ability to socially distance? Combined with masks, gloves and frequent surface cleanings, that should make voting at least as safe as a trip to Starbucks.  Voters whose concern remain high (such as those at high-risk) should certainly be allowed to request an absentee ballot (which has well-established protections against voter fraud).

There’s actually still time to take the simple steps necessary to avoid election chaos. Unfortunately, to some in the political/media complex, it appears chaos isn’t the feared result of poor planning but is actually a calculated strategy to disrupt democracy itself and bully their way to the results they demand.

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Meanwhile, actor Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, God’s Not Dead), pro-life activist Alveda King, singer Pat Boone and My Pillow entrepreneur Mike Lindell are among the notable names lending their support to The Return: National and Global Day of Prayer and Repentance gathering being held at the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Saturday (9/26) at 9:00 AM. The Christian event is being billed as a “call for all pastors, churches and families from every denomination and background to lead the United States in turning from sin back to God.” Other well-known participants include former GOP congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson and, from CBN’s 700 Club Pat Robertson and his son Gordon. While most, if not all, of those taking part in the congregation can fairly be called conservatives, I think most of us of any political persuasion, if we believe in the power of prayer (which I do), would agree that our country and use a healthy dose of it this year.

***

And, as a reminder that not all faith leaders are politically conservative, there’s Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto Heal and Transform the World. As Rabbi Lerner recently told me, his dissertation presents a powerful and compassionate plan for building what he call “a caring-centric society.”

The first step, he says,  is to challenge the meritocratic fantasies championed by the wealthy but also by the self-deceptive teachings of many in the pop-psychology and pop-spirituality fields (i.e. that “you create your own reality” and hence have no one to blame but yourself). While championing liberal and progressive causes, he challenges rhetoric that too often appears to disrespect the culture and religion of many Americans and while coming across as blaming every white person for racism. He notes that millions of people (including white people) responded to the brutal killing of George Floyd by demanding serious societal reforms and says now is the time to address what he views as deeply immoral economic and health disparities for African Americans and Latinos.

Lerner envisions a “woke America” that will replace the selfishness of capitalism with “the Caring Society—Caring for each other and Caring for the earth.” He promotes a sort of Global Marshall Plan to promote generosity and help end global and domestic poverty. His plan includes a guaranteed annual income for the bottom 70% of income earners and an Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution that would ban corporate interests and policies from politics.

While I certainly don’t agree with everything Rabbi Lerner espouses, I do support a form of Universal Basic Income that I believe is, ultimately, both a conservative and liberal answer income inequality and class conflict.

Overall, I enjoyed my conversation with Rabbi Lerner – and, I think, any prayer for the future should include the hope and plea that our society moves toward a culture of tolerance for differing perspectives that leads to a new sense of balance, peace and mutual respect in America and the world.

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