Tonight was the final debate in the campaign for the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. I accidentally watched a few minutes of it on TV as well as some CNN reporters arguing over it later. It all seemed like a media circus rather than a serious engagement of issues that could help voters make up their minds. How many billions of dollars and two years of people’s time and attention were wasted on this? It is a cause for global prayers of lament. Perhaps Canadians lament more over the loss of the Blue Jays in a baseball game to a team with a racist team name.

Today, October 19 is also the birthday of John Woolman born in 1720. After refusing as a young man to write a bill of sale for a slave, Woolman went on to play a key role in challenging Quakers to give up slavery and recognize it as unchristian. Thanks to the active faith of Woolman and others, Quakers played an important role in the abolition movement throughout the nineteenth century. John Woolman said, “The only Christian way to treat a slave is to set him free.” [from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals] After eight years of having a black president who attempted to instill hope and bring healing it seems that the USA has taken a step backward in the past few years with all the racial violence and the hateful rhetoric of a certain presidential candidate.

Lord have mercy on us.