A Pastor for Hillary

Sometimes you get to say just what you think….

Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In New Hampshire

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Partisan politics was something I stayed far away from when I was serving a parish.  Aside from the need to retain the congregation’s tax exempt status, it also just felt wrong to be telling people that looked up to me as their pastor how to vote.  Ministers’s voices and opinions can carry a lot of weight with their congregants.  I may be on the heavy side, but I don’t like throwing my weight around that way.

I am not serving a congregation currently, however.

If I serve as a parish minister again, I will again stay away from obviously partisan positions while still advocating for compassion and justice.  Being anti-racist, for instance,  should be something we all are working on; it is something our faith demands of us.  Caring for the poor, the homeless, providing a healthy environment for our children and ourselves (which includes clean water and air) , welcoming the refugee, providing jobs that pay a living wage, should not be considered controversial among people of faith.  Individuals and groups can disagree about methods and strategies, but the goal of all political parties should be to insure a decent, peaceful, free, and prosperous life for all of our citizens and ultimately, for all the people in the world.

I have said most of the above from the pulpit and will do so again when I get opportunities to preach.

Now, however, not having parish ties, I can say publicly that I think Hilary Clinton is the candidate that is most likely to move us forward at this particular time in history. 

I like Clinton for some of the same reasons that other people heap criticisms on her head.

  • She has changed her mind over time about a lot of things.  All politicians do this.  All people do this, at least they do if they aren’t fossilized. Changing opinions and positions doesn’t mean Clinton is dishonest, quite the opposite is true in fact.  It means she is capable of listening and learning.
  • She has strong convictions, but doesn’t seem to particularly self-righteous about them.  Contrast this with Bernie Sanders or (shudder) Ted Cruz.  Cruz is clearly a zealot, a true believer,  and he is even scarier than Trump for that reason.  I am not as sure that Sanders is a true zealot, but he sounds like one when he talks. Clinton doesn’t. There is some humility in evidence.  Obama has some humility too, which has been refreshing and real.  Only Clinton of the current candidates exhibits any humility at all.  No one knows everything.  It would be best to have a leader that understands that.
  • She’s practical and willing to make some compromises.  I think that is a good thing.  Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good.  Obama compromised on health care and we have something much better than we would have had otherwise – which was nothing.  It is not perfect, single payer, medicare for all,  would have been better, but it just wasn’t possible.  Sanders now wants to throw it out and just start over.  That is exactly what the Republicans want too. We could easily end up with nothing.
  • She has the experience.  She is in fact more qualified to be president than any other candidate in my memory.  She has been part of the system and knows it well.  I think that is a huge advantage and not an indictment as some seem to believe.
  • She supports Obama and pledges to continue his policies.  I love having Obama as our president.  I love all that he has been able to accomplish despite the huge and racist opposition he has faced. I also love what Clinton has been able to accomplish despite the huge and sexist opposition she has faced. I think she will do even more as president.
  • Obama, as our first African American president, just by being who he is, has done so much to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young people, especially our young people of color.  I’d like to see what a female president, just by being who she is, can do to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young women, including our young women of color.


One last comment:  the recent debates between Sanders and Clinton were what helped push me more firmly toward Clinton.  Sanders repeatedly used his white male privilege during those debates, reacting grumpily every time Clinton interrupted him while arrogantly speaking over her many times.  I do not remember any of that going on when Clinton debated Obama, perhaps because both were aware of and sensitive to the racial and gender dynamics of the situation.  Sanders seems simply clueless of any such dynamic at all.  We don’t need any more clueless leaders.  We have plenty of Republicans to provide that perspective.  The two photos above and below demonstrate what I am talking about.  Clinton mainly uses open-handed gestures directed to the audience.  Sanders mainly points and he directs many of his gestures toward Clinton.  Body language speaks volumes.  Someone should tell Sanders to clean up his act.  Maybe he can learn and grow.

Dem 2016 Debate

(AP Photo/Mic Smith)


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2 responses to “A Pastor for Hillary”

  1. Kirk says :

    I lost a Facebook friend (and Unitarian minister) who posted the link to his Facebook wall. He put it up, then deleted feedback that disagreed. Apparently, I’m a BernieBro because I respond with equal zest to Hillary endorsements and Trump endorsements.

    Sadly that encapsulates this whole problem. As I see it (and many of my peers agree), Hillary is more like Dick Cheney than Barak Obama or Bernie Sanders. Can that be reasonably argued against? Endorsing her doesn’t expand the conversation, at least not without ignoring all the shady deals she’s cut with foreign nationals to enrich the Clinton Foundation, or stacks of cash from her Wall Street owners.

    Choosing the “Bernie has white male privilege syndrome” as an excuse to endorse Hillary, that’s absurd. You’re tired of being picked on by the bullies and think this person will represent you. Would Martin Luther King have endorsed Hillary? I doubt it. Apparently some UU ministers think he would. If so, I must not be a Unitarian.

    • revtheresanovak says :

      Hi Kirk,

      I don’t know whether you are a Unitarian Universalist or not. That is up to you to determine for yourself. I do know that one of our UU principles involves the right of conscience. I, and you and your friend, each have a right to our opinions and our choice of candidates. One of the things that has disturbed me the most about Trump is how he encourages his supporters to demonize and hate their opponents. I don’t think Sanders is doing the same kind of encouraging, but some of the “BernieBro’s” you refer to are demonizing Hillary just like Trump demonizes Muslims. It isn’t helpful. I don’t think it is how our faith calls us to be. Disagree, state your own opinions, vote for someone else; that is your right and even your responsibility. I do, however, find your language is not just “zestful” but instead rather hyperbolic, inflammatory, arrogant, and it demeans and disrespects those that disagree with you. It widens the gap rather than bringing people together.

      It really is possible to have respectful disagreements about politics – and religion.

      By the way, my primary reason for supporting Clinton is that I think she would be a better and more effective president than Sanders. They are both much better choices for a myriad of reasons than the likely Republican nominees. You are free to disagree. I won’t call your choice absurd.

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