Voting for God: Local faith leaders speak on the 2016 presidential election

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Trump vs. Clinton has been a campaign for the history books: the name calling, the controversies, the questions about character. Amid all the contention, local faith leaders have found themselves answering questions about God and voting.

“I think there has been a lot of confusion with the people in this day and time, I don’t think our political field has ever been the way it is now,” Pastor Danita Ryan of The Soldiers of the Cross Ministries explained.

So we asked a simple question: when there is concern about the character of both candidates, how does a faith leader advise the masses?

“I like the advice of the present Pope,” said Our Lady of Sorrows Monsignor Martin Muller. “Study, study the issues, do not vote according to your emotions but vote according to your intelligence and conscience, and I feel people have a moral obligation to participate and to vote.”

Rabbi Jonathan Miller from Temple Emanu-El added: “Those of us who are religious have these core principles but we also have to learn to live with each other…so we have to have politics.”

Some common themes popped up in our conversations. The future of the Supreme Court with open seats that will be filled by the next president was a hot topic. Also health care and human rights are big topics inside the churches and synagogues of Alabama.

Reverend Dale Cohen of Canterbury United Methodist Church said one thing is most important to him.

“When I look at a candidate, I want to put them up against what I like to call the Jesus test, on the things that mattered the most to Jesus, how do they measure up,” Cohen explained. “Because for me, I have to vote the values that are the most important to me.”

This is a time for moral leadership, and that’s why so many of our faith leaders feel like their real work hasn’t been in the days leading up to Tuesday, but will actually start Wednesday. So what will the day after the election look like?

“[I] don’t know–I don’t know what it’s going to be like on Wednesday–how can we heal such a fractured country?” Rabbi Miller asked, visibly concerned.

Pastor Cohen left us with this thought: “There’s a Psalm that I love, Psalm 20 verse 7 says, ‘Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but I trust in the name of our God.’ God’s got this.”

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