by David Sisler

It may be something. It may be nothing. But when Palm Beach County Commissioner Carol Roberts said she would go to jail to drive the count forward, someone offered a vote-punching machine on eBay.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized, "Citizens have certain obligations in casting a vote, among them not to leave election authorities guessing. If a voter puts an X between boxes on a paper ballot, we do not measure the distance from each box and award it to the closer; we throw the ballot out."

Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters said the Court reasoned that "The right of the people to cast their vote is the paramount concern, overriding all others," and declared that the hand recounting of votes (where the rules have changed from two corners, to one corner, to sunlight, to pimples, dimples and pregnant chad) must continue.

Every delay in determining who will be our next president means more angry words, more hurtful charges, more wedges driven into the fabric of our democratic society, more sledge hammer blows at the foundations of the Republic. We are a house divided, and "a house divided against itself cannot stand" (Mark 3:25).

Following the announcement of the ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, Tim Russert, NBC's Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press, said, "If one member of the House and one member of the Senate objects to the Electoral College vote, then Congress must convene and deal with it and actually vote on it. And we could have a situation that is indeed perilous for the country..."

MSNBC spoke of "the risk of an illegitimate presidency." The network also warned, "There could be a situation where there are competing slates of electors presented from Florida, essentially one sanctioned by the Florida Supreme Court and the other by the Florida legislature. It would be up to Congress to choose between them or choose neither."

"If the will of the people is to prevail," said Gore campaign manager William Daley, "Al Gore should be awarded a victory in Florida and be our next president." Responding to Daley, Terry Eastland, publisher of The American Spectator said, "This statement can mean only that the Gore campaign knows that more votes were properly cast for Mr. Gore than Mr. Bush. But obviously it cannot know this. Further, the poisonous implication of Mr. Daley's statement is that the will of the people in Florida will not have prevailed if Mr. Bush in the end is certified the winner."

The Florida Supreme Court speaks about the rights of the people. William Daley speaks of the will of the people. What about Father's will?

Ben Haden, radio and television minster for Changed Lives calls it the greatest prayer ever prayed, and to this prayer, the answer was "No!" The carpenter's work-worn hands reach out ahead of him as he lies prone on the ground. They dig into the soil, and like a pair of five-tined rakes, scratch the hard-packed earth as if answers could be found there. His face is covered with bloody sweat and he shouts out loudly (but not so loudly that it wakes three nearby sleepers), "Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from me!" Three times he implored and three times he surrendered, "But do what you want, not what I want."

We are not surprised to hear Jesus pray in that fashion. After all, when his disciples yearned for power in prayer, the power they saw when he prayed, he taught them to pray for Father's will to be done. In a time when prayer is systematically being removed from the fabric of our nation, that prayer must become our national prayer and not mandated or legislated, but offered from humble and contrite hearts. Even if Father's will means that my business fails, even if it means that my sickness is not healed, even if it means that my candidate for president loses!

"Our Father, which art in heaven... Thy kingdom come. Thy will your determination, choice, purpose, decree, inclination be done caused to be, to become in superimposed in the direction of earth, as in the exact same manner it is in heaven.

The situation with the Florida vote count is symptomatic. We have made government our god and our god has failed us. The First Commandment, banned from classroom and courtroom must be honored. For the sake of our nation, for the sake of our national survival, it is time, and past time, that we set no other gods before the Lord God Almighty. Father, thy will be done!


Published in The Augusta Chronicle 11/25/2000

Copyright 2000 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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