United elder says U.S. election epitomizes disregard for truth

By Dixon Cartwright

GILMER, Texas--Gary Antion of Cincinnati, Ohio, waits in vain for "truth and righteousness" to prevail in the United States of America, he says, and he characterizes as "sin" the way some politicians allegedly misled the American people in the recent presidential-election vote tally.

Mr. Antion, a member of the council of elders of the United Church of God, an International Association, based in Milford, Ohio, was here in December for a council meeting in nearby Tyler, Texas.

He made his remarks at Sabbath services here Dec. 9, criticizing Democrats for their post-election attempts to get their man in the White House "at all costs," in Mr. Antion's words.

When Democratic partisans said they wanted every vote in Florida to be counted in the Nov. 7 election, they really meant, according to Mr. Antion, they wanted to "poach" votes for Democratic contender Al Gore in Democrat-dominated Florida counties.

In one of the most unusual presidential elections in U.S. history, Democrats and Republicans contended for 38 days after the election while state and federal courts, including the U.S. and Florida supreme courts, got into the act. Finally the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling 5-4 that in effect let stand the machine-vote totals that gave Republican George W. Bush the popular vote in Florida.

The race was the first time since 1876 that a U.S. president won the presidential election, coming out ahead in the "electoral college" official count, but finishing behind in the national popular vote.

"I'm not here to say Bush is better than Gore," said Mr. Antion, "though I have a certain leaning if I were to be a voter. However, I am for fairness and truth," and judging by "what I have seen over the television by lawyers, by judges, by senators and representatives who are supposed to be the leaders of our country, I have to grieve over the lack of truth and honesty that is being presented."

The Democrats who demanded multiple recounts in Florida, Mr. Antion said, were like a team demanding that a football game be extended because it didn't get a touchdown in the last quarter.

He criticized some of the attorneys who represented the parties demanding more recounts.

"There's one lawyer," he said, "who reminds me of somebody whom I can't even watch any more, he's so repulsive."

Mr. Antion said Church of God members should "grieve" for their country.

"I do grieve for what I've seen over the last month. I keep waiting for justice and righteousness to prevail. I keep waiting for truth to be valued. I keep waiting for righteousness to win out. I hope it does."

"Brethren," he said, "you and I have a responsibility to make sure we don't buy into what we see out there, that we don't become like the spin doctors, that we don't take truth and dash it to the streets. We have a responsibility to uphold it by how we live and speak."

He quoted Zechariah 8:16, about everyone in the millennial kingdom speaking truth to his neighbor. "Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice and peace," Zechariah wrote.

"May we all learn this wonderful lesson," concluded Mr. Antion, "What a beautiful day when truth will be taken out of the streets and elevated to the high position that your God and my God intended to put it."

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