On Nov. 3, American voters will decide whether sitting President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will be their nation’s president for the next four years. This election is generating intense interest globally, and the results will impact all corners of the planet. Among other things, it’s been said by folks on both sides that the election is a “battle for the soul of America.”
What defines the soul of America – or any nation? Policies adopted by a particular executive? Creative tension among the checks and balances of executive, legislative, and judiciary? Decisions made by Supreme Court justices? The hard-won Constitution and Bill of Rights undergirding all these? Or is it something even deeper than that?
If the soul of an individual or a nation can change, then there is no North Star to be guided by, no defining character to aspire to. If, on the other hand, the soul is changeless and enduring, then there exists an ideal that calls for increased recognition and adoption as time invites and accommodates progress and growth.
Christian Science points to the existence of such a changeless Soul – divine Soul, or God. This Science is a wholly spiritual explanation of individual and universal reality, as proved by Jesus and systematically laid out in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. Christian Science explains the nature of this eternal Soul as supremely good, all-blessing, and indestructible.
There is no fragility to divine Soul, and so there is no genuine Soul to anything that appears vulnerable to the vagaries of passing time and changing power structures. Where Soul is there is permanency, and its creation expresses its unfluctuating nature.
This changeless goodness – the spiritual reality of all men, women, and children – is not political or partisan. It is the spiritual expression of God’s impartial and universal love. Prayer that glimpses this truth identifies as misguided the notion that a particular political orientation could have a monopoly on Soul, and promotes the relinquishing of such views. This, in turn, enables our meek recognition of Soul’s gracious qualities, evidenced in diverse candidates and parties, and among the electorate at large.
That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for individuals to feel moved to support a particular candidate or a set of policies they feel should triumph. It will, though, temper human passions and temptations to demonize opponents, so that Soul’s sense of the dignity of all creation remains center-stage in informing attitudes and motivating action.
So, perhaps the real question is: Does Soul need to be battled for in the U.S., or in any nation facing elections?
Yes and no.
If there is resistance to all that divine Soul is and expresses, there is a need to join in battle, through prayer that seeks to understand Soul’s universally perfect ideas, so that they might come to light and take shape in the betterment of human experience.
But that battle doesn’t need to be – cannot be – joined in the name of polarities, either political or denominational. Rather, the battle is joined against the impositions of what the Bible calls “the carnal mind,” which presents as unavoidable (in oneself or others) traits such as ill-temper, greed, fear, or self-will (see Romans 8:7). This battle is fought on the basis of claiming our innate ability to see, through spiritual perception, the universal perfection that God, the divine Mind, sees.
We might find these prayers leading to certain political victories or decisions – even those of a candidate we didn’t prefer! Or Soul’s ingenuity might find myriad other ways to substantiate its claims on humanity’s attention and well-being. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul” (p. 60).
Seeking a nation’s happiness in Soul, as well as our own individual happiness, provides that North Star, a defining character to which all can aspire. In Soul we discover rich promise and satisfaction in qualities such as humility, courage, creativity, freshness, honesty, holiness, wholesomeness. A nation will express Soul more as its citizens – including candidates to elective posts – increasingly value and express these qualities and live them.
This will help to increasingly secure national and global happiness as it truly exists – for one and all.
Adapted from an article published in the Nov. 3, 2008, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.
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