CMDA's The Point

Let Us Be Healers

February 11, 2021
A Deeper Faith Al Weir, MD May 21, 2019

by Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics)

This is a non-partisan site, and this is a non-partisan blog. I have not posted opinions supporting any candidate anywhere, and I will not do so here.

Recently, many of you have watched television hosts, listened to radio shows, read blogs or received emails, letters or texts telling you that if certain candidates were to be elected:

  1. It would be the end of America as we know it.
  2. We would never fix all the terrible things in America that we need to fix.
  3. Poor people would suffer.
  4. Middle class people would suffer.
  5. The country would go into irremediable debt.
  6. The citizens of this country would go into irremediable debt.
  7. Etc.

In the process of these elections—national, state, county, city—people who used to treat others civilly have forgotten how to do so. Politics has torn families apart, severed relationships and caused some people to say and do things that can never be unsaid or undone. In their efforts to obtain elected office, politicians and their support teams in both parties perpetrated rumors, lies and innuendo regarding opposition candidates. Some of these actions have destroyed reputations. Social media has helped to perpetrate the spread of misinformation.

Pundits on the right and left reported news from such remotely disparate perspectives that I often wondered if they were talking about the same events. Television and print journalists abandoned their noble calling to keep us informed of verified facts and objective information to assume the roles of political hacks bent only on advancing their own agendas by openly cheering for the candidates who supported policies the reporters deemed best. America’s trust in mainline media sank to perhaps its lowest point ever.

The brother of one woman I know cut ties with his sister, not because of her political beliefs, but because she was a Christian and he “knew” how all Christians think politically. He refused to be associated with anyone with whom he disagreed. In fact, she had no strong political opinions.

I participated in an open forum where one of the presenters adamantly claimed that unless America elected his candidate, the entire country would never have _______ (fill in the blank). As I listened, I kept thinking, “He really thinks that the solution to all social problems is confined to government initiatives.”

I have voted in the last 12 presidential elections, as well as many other congressional, state and local elections. Many times, the candidate that I supposed would ruin everything he or she touched, in fact, did not. At other times, the candidate that I hoped would make everything right, in fact, did not or could not.

Well-meaning Christians of various political persuasions have forgotten that the ways we seek justice matter and that the ends do not justify the means. We are to “…do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, ESV), maintaining a sense of love and a willingness to listen to those with whom we disagree.

I am not suggesting we abandon all political involvement to focus solely on “spiritual” things, but I am calling on Christians to express God’s love in whatever we do. And I am praying that as Christian healthcare professionals we can be agents of reconciliation, that we will pray for our nation and that we will pray for our leaders. We can still work diligently to rectify society’s ills—a la William Wilberforce, John Wesley, General William Booth, or Dame Cicely Saunders—but as we do so, we can love those with whom we disagree, and pray for them as well (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Paul instructed Timothy to pray for all men, but specifically those who are in authority.

The elections are over. Let reconciliation begin. Let us be healers.

About Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics)

Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics), MSHA, FAAN, CPE, is a board certified neurologist, with additional training and experience in palliative medicine, executive coaching and medical leadership. He is completing his 30th year serving at Carle Health, (formerly Carle Foundation Hospital) in Urbana, Illinois, as an attending neurologist, and (Past Chair—14 years) of the Carle Ethics Committee. He is a clinical professor of medicine (neurology) at Carle Illinois College of Medicine in Urbana-Champaign and is on the clinical faculty of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of the CMDA Ethics Committee. He and his wife Tammy are grateful for their five grown children, their daughters- and sons-in-law and their 11 grandchildren.

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