Back in 1636 my ancestor William Worcester served as a Church of England Vicar in the Olney Parish (the same position later held by John Newton). He had held this post for a dozen years, was married, and had four children. His living, as far as can be ascertained, was sufficient enough to provide for his family with some level of comfort. In other words, for William Worcester in 1636, there was no upside to arguing with the King – the legal head of the Church.
But back in 1636, William Worcester was growing increasingly unhappy with the Church’s seeming embrace of all things secular. In that year he found himself in a difficult situation. The King ordered that at the end of services the vicars were to read from “The King’s Book of Sports and Entertainments” a section that gave explicit permission for engaging in sports and recreations on the Sabbath Day. Obviously up until that point that had not been the case. Worcester viewed this as a betrayal of the Gospel as he understood it. If I could read his mind, I’d guess he felt that his degree from Cambridge and subsequent ordination gave him more insight into the Lord’s views about the Sabbath Day than the King had. Anyway, I digress. William chose not to read the passage to his congregation. In my mind I hear the arguments people must have given him both pro and con about defying the King in this way, but I also can see him deciding that taking a stand for what he felt was an inviolate principle mattered more than any other consideration. As a consequence, Worcester was summarily stripped of his post and struggled to provide for his family for the next three years. In 1639 he emigrated to Massachusetts and became a founding citizen of Salisbury.
Okay, but how does this apply today?
During the Republican primaries I was a stanch #nevertrump voter. I had my favorite(s) in the race, but I was also willing to ultimately support any of the candidates with the single exception of Donald Trump. Why? Why, even I, someone who is as out of it on pop culture as they come, knew of Trump’s reputation for womanizing, adultery, general incivility, fraudulent business practices, etc. As I listened to him in the campaign I learned even more to dismay me, for as he campaigned his platform was one of anger and hate and divisiveness. Those are traits that are truly anathema to me. For example, I believe in the need to control our borders, but I don’t believe in tearing down all the people who have crossed those borders illegally over the years. As my husband used to point out, any parent who truly loved their family would probably do all in their power to escape the troubles south of the border and flee to where they could build a better life. Yes, we need enforcement, but no, we don’t need to name call and foment hatred.
That was just one issue; there were many. And always there was the idea that I could not betray everything I believed in to vote for a family-destroying immoral man. People tried to convince me otherwise. Good and dear friends told me that ultimately I’d change my mind as the election drew near. I was so torn, for I despised everything the Clintons stood for and didn’t want to be instrumental in Hillary’s victory, but I felt deep down that I just couldn’t vote for Trump.
I moved in June and July was the first anniversary of Ben’s death, so I was rather too preoccupied to follow politics. However, by the beginning of August I knew I had to figure out what to do about the presidential race. On August 7th I fasted and I prayed specifically for guidance on how to proceed in the presidential race. I felt I was willing to lay aside all my own prejudices and do whatever the Lord told me to do, even though I truly doubted He would prompt me to vote for someone who went against every value I held dear. I received no spiritual insight on August 7th.
On August 8th I woke up and checked my various news feeds, as normal. One of the very first things that popped up was about someone named Evan McMullin entering the presidential race. I cannot express what I felt at that moment, for it truly defied explanation. There had been other third party candidates that never excited any interest for me, even though I carefully looked at them and their views. But in this case I raced to the computer and went to the fledgling evanmucmullin.com website and read about him. For the first time in the presidential race I felt energized and I signed up immediately fro be on their email list. I texted and emailed friends that very day, encouraging them to look McMullin up.
The next day I got an email about a kick-off rally in downtown Salt Lake to be held on Wednesday night. I RSVP’d and decided to shrug off my innate social anxiety and attend. It was amazing. I was interviewed on KSL-TV and was honestly able to say I was on the McMullin team.
Since that night I have learned much more about Evan McMullin. I so appreciate his honesty and candor on subjects that are important to me. One of these is the subject of greater inclusion and understanding. I think principled compassion and conservatism includes looking at things from all angles and viewpoints. I appreciate his views on foreign policy. I side with him on the issue of state’s rights. I definitely agree with him far more on the issues than I do with any of the other candidates.
Most importantly to me, however, is the fact that in voting for Evan McMullin I will not need to compromise my core values. I will be able to hold my head high knowing that I didn’t choose the lesser of two evils, but rather cast my vote for an upstanding and honorable candidate. I believe that post-election there will be a permanent division within the Republican Party and I want to be part of the new conservative movement leading us forward into a brighter time. This is why I am voting for Evan McMullin. This is why I encourage, no matter the ultimate outcome of the election, all to stand on their principles and vote for integrity and honor. William Worcester was exiled from his Church and from his country for standing on his principles, but his legacy is far greater for having done so. This is our time to decide who we are and what we stand for and we can’t let ourselves be governed by fear of the consequences. What we do now will surely impact us and our families for many years to come. It is time to do something!