A Mosaic Revival: High-Definition Election 2008 Part II
This is part two of my reflections concerning Election 2008 and Generation X, Y, and next. As I said before, this is an exciting time in the national landscape. A revival is taking place that incorporates thousands of younger evangelicals with pioneers in the faith. This is a broad coalition of Moseses and Joshuas and Deborahs, to use biblical language. In my last posting here concerning the election in kaleidoscope, I received some e-mails, phone calls, and postings that demonstrate the need for this conversation.
The question is what does this Mosaic revival reveal? Simply, that we recognize that to promote real movement it will take a broad coalition across racial/ethnic, gender, generational, and denominational lines. Much has been rumored of the tension between black and brown or Asian and black voters. Other tensions have been pointed about differences between female and male voters or young and elderly voters. We're working for a new day. This revival is pleading for people of good will to change the national conversation screen to high-definition.
Let me be clear about some of the challenges to this mosaic in concrete election 2008 terms:
- Refusing to vote for Senator McCain because of his age (ageism);
- Refusing to vote for Senator Obama because of his race (racism).
- Refusing to vote for Senator Clinton because of her gender (sexism).
- Refusing to vote for Governors Romney or Huckabee because of their religion (sectarianism).
- Voting for them only because of any of these criteria presents its own myopia.
I vote for a candidate based on where they stand on the issues that most closely reflect Jesus' ethic of love of God and creation (this is a very long discussion worth having in another forum). I am hopeful that there is a new and creative conversation surging. In this new conversation, leaders in the Asian, Euro-American, Latino, Native-American, African-American, etc., communities are emphasizing the "ties that bind" and not the walls that separate.
In this new kaleidoscopic way of doing policy perhaps we should think of endorsements in another way. What candidates are endorsing policies that are mindful of this global and U.S. mosaic? In a politics-as-usual model, candidates exploit tensions-perceived or real-among demographics. This really needs to stop. A new kind of conversation seeks creative solutions that take particularity seriously but does away with the politics of animosity. There are signs of hope.
Recently, I've joined an organization called New York Faith and Justice and I've learned something about a new wave of voters. Two of the prominent leaders are an African American Cherokee Chickasaw woman, Lisa Sharon Harper, and a white evangelical man, Peter Heltzel. Lisa and Peter are an example of this emerging mosaic. They welcome my Latino perspective and continually want to be challenged and informed by it. Peter and Lisa are working hard to ensure that issues important to multiple constituencies are at the forefront of our city-wide and national dialogue.
Similarly, I've been working closely with Adam Taylor and Patty Kupfer of Sojourners on immigration reform issues. The conversation between this black man, white woman, and myself are a sign of the mosaic that represents the diversity of the kingdom of God. We don't always agree on everything, but we are committed to mutuality and respect and working on behalf of the beloved community - stated in Revelation 7:9 - "from every tribe, nation, people and language." These are signs of hopefulness that the presidential candidates need to heed. What is critical here is that there is not an attempt to assimilate but rather to keep unity while respecting diversity.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero is the pastor of the Lamb's Church of the Nazarene in New York City, a Ph.D. candidate at Union Theological Seminary, and the director of the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also a Sojourners board member.