As America goes to the polls, Sam Hailes pens a letter to fellow...
The people of Iowa have voted. This is the first primary election for the November Presidential hopefuls. While Iowans do vote for their favourite candidate, the State has only six electoral votes which count towards the 270 needed to elect a new President.
Republicans write down their preference and Democrats gather in corners trying to persuade each other to support their favourite politician. The one with the most votes in each county wins the electoral votes. Polls and polls of polls reveal that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the frontrunners. The failure of the British polls to reflect the actual vote is a useful warning. Polls only tell us what people say, not what they will actually do. It was supposed to be a hung Parliament with the Scottish Nationalists holding the balance of power, but instead, the Conservatives won a clear majority and formed the present Government. Polls cannot accurately predict or control the future. Voting results show that the majority is not always right. There is a gap between what people say, promise and what they actually do.
Pilate took a poll asking the crowd whether to release Jesus or the bandit Barabbas. The voting public chose the guilty Barabbas. Jesus, the innocent, was crucified, losing the popular vote. The majority mocked Noah building an Ark. The floods came. The majority were lost in the flood. Noah, his family and animal-kind were saved. The majority is not always right. Words are cheap. So often we don’t mean what we say or say what we mean. Scripture has harsh things to say about the gap between words and actions. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He asked if they understood what He had done. They said they did and Jesus then told them ‘Blessed are you if you do it’. Genuine faith is shown not by what is said but by what is done. Calling Jesus, ‘Lord’ means nothing unless it is matched by feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty drink, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and visiting the sick and those in prison. Faith and words without works are dead.
Iowa was about anti-Washington candidates. A 74 year old, Democratic Socialist promising to raise taxes. A bombastic, self-promoting, Reality TV, businessman were unlikely and outlandish candidates. So it is no surprise that Senator Cruz, a conservative evangelical won the Republican vote. The Democrats, Sanders and Clinton, are almost equally tied. This is the first step in a long, long run up to the Conventions, the choosing of the final Presidential candidates and the November election. Only 57% of US people voted in 1912. In the UK, less than the 66% in 2015. Democracy only works when people are informed, turn out to vote and support their choice. Politicians promise a great deal, but turning that into positive action is much harder. Faith is equally hard to live out. If we genuinely believe that Jesus is Lord, then that should transform what we do and how we live. Words, like faith, without works, is dead. John the beloved disciple told Christians to do the truth. Politicians and believers must turn their words and promises into action.