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We the Purple

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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The changing colors of America, 2008 Presidential Election, Purple America (Credit: Mark Newman)

Now that President Obama has been reelected, I’d like to offer some reflections on yesterday’s election.  The Washington Post called the day our “civic holiday.” Whether your candidate won or lost, what America accomplished Tuesday is truly remarkable.

Our country is the world’s oldest democracy.  Today, nearly three-quarters of the world’s nations elect their heads of state through some kind of democratic process, but it wasn’t always so.  The vast majority of people in human history had no opportunity to do what you and I did yesterday.  Many still cannot.

I have been to Cuba seven times; its Communist Party must approve all candidates and controls all elections.  I was in Beijing two years ago; the world’s most populous nation has never held free elections for its national leaders (except for a brief period in the 1920s).  Many of the countries that make headlines today, including Iran and much of the Middle East, have no free elections for their heads of state.

By contrast, we held yesterday’s election with decorum.  Republicans are not mounting a coup; Gov. Romney has conceded rather than contesting the results.  Such behavior places America in the distinct minority of nations in world history.

Now that our election has been decided, how do we move forward?

As of today, we are no longer red or blue states—combining the two colors, we are now purple (“We the purple,” to rephrase the Constitution).  Unity is possible without unanimity, a fact proven by Christians when we gather for worship every seven days.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents share space in our sanctuaries.  If we can find fellowship on the weekend, we can find it during the week.

I pledge to pray every day for President Obama, in obedience to Scripture: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  I pledge to work for spiritual awakening and moral renewal in this nation I love.  And I pledge my highest allegiance not to any president but to our King.

I recently read the autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.  When the group held its first vote for the leader of their order, Ignatius was the unanimous choice of the members, with a single exception—Ignatius voted for “whoever gets the most votes.”  That’s who gets my vote this morning.

What about yours?