The Dallas Morning News religion blog is running a series of answers by panelists on the question: “If you were the spiritual adviser to the next president, what would you advise him on how to discern and implement God’s will in the execution of his duties?”
Writer and producer Katie Sherrod, Episcopal laywoman in Fort Worth, TX is one of the panelists. She writes:
In Galatians, Paul tells us a work of the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, and peace while sinful nature is full of hatred, fighting, jealousy, and fits of anger.” We are then given a list that sounds like the Karl Rove School of Political Campaigning: “It is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. It wants what others have.”
So a huge first step for whoever is elected would be learning the difference between governing and campaigning.
The most obvious danger for anyone seeking to “do God’s will” is that of confusing God’s will for her or his own. Since humility is not a quality often seen in political leaders in any nation, the danger is even greater for a president seeking to “do God’s will” in the execution of his duties. I think American voters are right to be wary of such talk. After all, the men who flew those planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers believed they were doing God’s will.
How is one to know? The Gospel of Matthew gives us some excellent guidelines: ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ And conversely, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
So the president could ask the question, “Does this [decision, policy, piece of legislation, etc.] help the stranger, assist the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick or imprisoned, or does it make their situation worse while helping the most fortunate among us?
Or more simply, “How does this [decision, policy, piece of legislation, etc.] affect the least of us?”
Read all the answers here.