What I feared would happen in the 2020 presidential election has happened, and no, I am not talking about whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump would win. I'm referencing the divisive and ambiguous situation we face as a nation where neither candidate has a clear victory or a mandate and where there have been widespread reports of a loss of ballot integrity. And whoever prevails, at least half the nation is going to feel disenfranchised and exploited. There are literally thousands of reported incidents of voter “irregularities,” especially in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Detroit, all states where Mr. Biden currently has a slim majority.
Some of us had been warning for months that the massive new initiative for mail-in balloting in States that had never previously had such a system was a recipe for disaster with mere chaos as the best likely outcome and corruption the worst. Unfortunately, we now have a lethal combination of both.
So how do we deal with this unprecedented situation? First, we need to pray for our country and for our countrymen. Second, we need to pray for former Vice-President Biden and for President Trump. They both need to be VERY careful about not fanning the flames of discord by intemperate remarks. These issues will be settled in the judicial arena, as our legal system mandates. The news media have no authority to declare a candidate the “winner” — that is above their “pay grade,” despite their highly inflamed sense of their own self-importance.
These issues are going to try our patience and challenge our wisdom. We need to pray that everyone involved will practice true and clear transparency, and “clear transparency” is not a redundancy. We need not only to have transparency, but it needs to be seen as full-blown, voluntary transparency. Otherwise we could face a constitutional crisis of the legitimacy of the federal government because the government gets its legitimacy from the people. Remember Lincoln said “government of the people, by the people, for the people” at Gettysburg.
This is a delicate and precipitous moment for our country, one that will have long-term consequences if it is not handled with grace and understanding by all involved. May God grant each of us patience, tolerance, and wisdom, and may all of us “listen to the better angels of our nature,” to cite once again our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln.
Whichever candidate is eventually declared the winner, let us all covenant to pray for him, as we are commanded to do by Holy Scripture.
I have been doing my best to obey this divine command to pray daily for those in authority for half a century. About half the time I have been praying for presidents for whom I voted, and the other half for presidents for whom I did not.
Nevertheless, I prayed for all of them as an act of obedience and because the Lord has informed us, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1, ESV).
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.