I just returned from the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly, where we elected a new bishop. I can’t help but compare the process sadly to the ongoing process for electing our next president.
Seventeen clergy had submitted their qualifications and vision to be bishop for the voting members to read before the assembly.
here was absolutely no negative campaigning. 65 people were nominated on the first ballot, but 43 of them asked to not be placed on the second ballot, leaving 22 candidates. The top seven on the second ballot were to move on to the third ballot, but because there was a tie, there were eight. Each of the eight then made a five minute speech, and then we voted.
During voting, there was complete silence although there were 576 people in the room. We were asked to pray before we voted, and to remain in prayer until everyone had voted and the ballots had been collected.
On the next ballot, the top three advanced. The assembly divided into three groups, and the top three rotated through them for three fifty minute sessions of question and answer. There were no negative questions; there were no negative answers.
On the fourth ballot, a similar process took place regarding voting, prayer, and silence. The three remaining candidates sat together in the visitors’ section at the back of the room. When the results were announced, and one candidate was eliminated by a single vote, he received a standing ovation. There was no call for a recount. There were no complaints.
The two remaining candidates each made five minute speeches, again 100% positive. Voting was again done in silence and in prayer. When the results were announced, the losing candidate again received a standing ovation.
I find myself asking, why can’t our presidential candidates and their supporters also be 100% positive? Why can’t they only explain why they should be elected instead of spending so much time, money, and effort smearing their opposition? I once said I would never vote for someone who did or allowed negative campaigning, but I soon realized that I would have nobody to vote for.
Well, there is one thing I can do. I can pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the privacy of the voting booth. And that, I plan on doing.