Senior Minister’s Message
Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea
Yup, that’s pretty much it (almost).
On one of the walls in our living room is a print of Norman Rockwell’s famous series of oil paintings, “The Four Freedoms”, which was inspired by a speech given by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, in which Roosevelt proclaimed that there were four freedoms everyone in the world should share in:
Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear
The scene which Rockwell chose to illustrate “freedom from want” happens to be a family at Thanksgiving dinner.
Freedom and Thanksgiving. I don’t know whether Rockwell intended to link the two or not, but they deserve to be. Because one of the things we hear people in this country give God thanks for most often at Thanksgiving is our freedom. And freedom, in this, or any democratic society, begins at the voting booth. Yet the voter participation rate in the U.S. has become one of the consistently lowest, if not the lowest, of all the long-established democracies in the world.
Knowing the outsized influence that those with wealth and power have on our election system, and being reminded daily of the constant ideologically partisan gridlock in Washington, has led many to conclude that, “My vote doesn’t matter”.
But it does.
It was the voting booth that ultimately made moral, ethical and spiritual imperatives like voting rights for women, as well liberty from slavery and civil rights for blacks, legal realities through the election of leaders who saw those imperatives through, whether they truly believed in the cause or grasped that it was simply “good politics”. So as discouraging as our political system can be at times, and maybe never more than right now...VOTE. If we are truly thankful to God for our freedoms, VOTE. Because as we see over and over again in the Bible and in the history of our tradition, it is when things are the most difficult and discouraging that God calls on us to refuse to walk away, and insist on exercising the freedom that we have been blessed with more than ever.