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NCC's Edgar calls for 'season of healing' after election

Statement of the Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, on the results of Election Day 2006:

Orlando, Nov. 8, 2006--Much will be made in the days and weeks ahead about what Tuesday's elections mean to our nation.  Since I happened to have been one of the 49 Democrats elected to Congress in 1974 following
Watergate, Vietnam and spiraling inflation, I have some idea.

Millions of Americans, who I call 'middle church', voted for a true compassionate government.  These voters want better.  They've grown tired of the bitter partisan, power-at-any-cost campaign that has so divided our nation.  Some political pundits will say Connecticut's Joe Lieberman's re-election as an independent is a sign of voters' disgust
with the name-calling and bickering that has so paralyzed our federal government.  Others will say that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election happened only after he chose to deal in a bi-partisan way in America's most populous state.

In all six states where raising the minimum wage was on the ballot, voters said a resounding 'yes.'  The National Council of Churches three years ago had joined with dozens of faith and community groups to work for a living wage in our nation.  But the U.S. Congress' unwillingness to protect the American worker forced our 'Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign' to change its focus to raising the minimum wage. 

I believe voters also said they want elected representatives who are honest.  They want representatives they can trust.  In the heavily Republican district in Pennsylvania where I served six terms in Congress as a Democrat, voters once again crossed party lines to elect a Democratic representative who they believe will restore integrity and real fundamental American values to Congress.

But middle church also wants to see better political campaigns.  Harold Ford, Jr., made that point last night in his concession speech.  "I believe more in this country than I do in the process," he told supporters who had hoped he would be the next senator from Tennessee. The ugliness of racism in our country emerged again in a television ad
campaign that helped defeat Ford.  My friend and Tennessee resident Bishop Melvin Talbert lamented in a reflection yesterday this was "the most bitterly contested political election in this nation."  Harold Ford quoted the Letter to the Ephesians in his concession speech:  "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and
powers."

Another New Testament scripture formed the theme of our General Assembly here in Florida this week.  "For the Healing of the Nations" from the Book of Revelation (22:1-2) should also carry all Christians--progressive and conservative, red and blue--into a new season of healing.  We should all come together for the good of our nation, as Bishop Talbert wrote, because it is "the time for people of goodwill to bury their hatchets; 'forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead' (Philippians 3:13-15 -NRSV) with hope."


 


 

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