Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Resident Aliens

November 4, 2008

It is a joy to see a line of our neighbors around the block waiting to get into Ellis Hall to cast their votes in the election today. It s now 9 am and the line has been this way since 6 am this morning. We have put out coffee and water and some information about All Saints’ for anyone who wants it.

I have been asked a number of times today whether I have voted and have had to say that I am not a citizen and so do not have that privilege. (I’ve written before about my scruples about the oath of allegiance that includes renouncing all other allegiances.) I am reminded of a book by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon called Resident Aliens which was the image they used for Christians who are “in the world but not of it”. I am officially and gratefully a ‘resident alien’ in this land and it is election days when I am most aware of it. I have usually been confident in the past that my vote would not make a difference in Georgia, although it seems that this year might be different. I was appalled to hear of one of our senators urging his supporters to vote because “the other folk” were voting. Is it possible to interpret that in any other way than the most craven reference to African American voters with a view to inciting racial conflict? Unbelievable in this day and age.

I am grateful to live in a democracy and grateful for those institutions and people who serve to protect that freedom as well as all those who claim the privilege and right of voting.

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