The Common Good

Vote for My Jesus?

Sojomail - November 2, 2006


"Politics has always been a contact sport, but it really does feel like the rhetoric has crossed a line. We've had ads with baby-crying noises from dumpsters, Playboy mansions, criminals coming over the border creating crime and mayhem. And that's the tame stuff. "

-Evan Tracey, campaign ad analyst
(Source: The Christian Science Monitor )

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Becky Garrison: Vote for My Jesus?
Even though I want to cast my vote for God's Politics, I have to ask myself, could our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ever be considered a viable candidate for public office?

The answer is, alas, a resounding, “No.”

According to conventional political wisdom, casting a vote for Christ would be akin to going green in 2000. For starters, the Sermon on the Mount speech (see Matthew 5-7) would lose the Soccer Mom, the NASCAR dad, and whatever other idealized demographic pollsters have determined must be placated in order for a candidate to procure their political prize.

Diana Butler Bass: Not Red, Not Blue...Purple Churches
In the fall of 2004, immediately before the last presidential election, I was at Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopal church in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, amid Ohio’s fractious political environment, one woman remarked, “We’re not really red, and we’re not really blue. We’re sort of purple.”

Amy Sullivan: Ha! That'll Be The Day! Erm...
When Clinton speaks as her true self, as a politically moderate woman of faith, one of two things happen: People either don't hear her because they can't process contradictory information, or they think she's faking it, positioning herself for a White House run.

Duane Shank: The Soldiers are Ready to Come Home
Nearly 500 active-duty service people have signed a message to members of Congress. An Appeal for Redress says: “As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.”

Tony Campolo: The Myth of Democracy in Iraq
This administration, struggling for some justification for a war that is generally acknowledged as a disaster, has claimed that we’re in this war in order to spread democracy. The president points to the election of a parliament and the choosing of a prime minister as evidence that this war has had at least a modicum of success in achieving that end. But it is just this claim that I want to challenge.

Jim Wallis: 'The Myth of a Christian Nation'
Tuesday evening at the Twin Cities' Bethel University, students, along with many others, gathered for a forum on how faith should relate to politics in our time. I was joined by Greg Boyd, a young pastor and theologian who leads the Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul and whose courageous new book, The Myth of a Christian Nation, has created controversy and landed him on the front page of The New York Times.

Jim Wallis Audio: Can Faith and Politics Coexist?
Jim Wallis talks to Minnesota Public Radio about a new generation of evangelical progressives, how the Left-Right debate is failing to resolve our deepest crises, and why we need a new "prophetic politics."


Vote All of Your Values!

Churches play a critical social role in providing not only information for civic dialogue, but also leading communities in the formation of conscience, deepening faith, and exercising values. Everything about the Bible can be understood to have political implications. But too often we don't have the tools for teaching the Word in a constructive manner that equips Christians to be prophetic citizens. Reflections on next Sunday's lectionary passages can help us develop a biblically centered set of principles:

November 5

Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34

Jesus' encounter with the scribe in Mark 12:28-34 gives God's priorities for us in no uncertain terms: Love God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself. Psalm 146, which Jesus quotes at the beginning of his ministry, proclaims that the kingdom of God will be good news to almost every powerless group in ancient Israel. Psalm 146 also tells us not to put our trust in humans, including political rulers - but at the same time Mosaic law put in place humane regulations, like the gleaning laws that provide for Naomi and Ruth when they arrive in Israel as economic refugees.

This week we will go to the polls and cast our vote for leaders and policies that will affect our communities and nation. What are three values - as opposed to partisan issues - that will influence how you vote? Who do you represent with your vote - yourself and your family only? Or do you also vote based on the needs of the poor and disadvantaged in your community? In what ways can we hold our political leaders accountable to work for justice and peace and to serve on behalf of the poorest?

For more reflections, + Download the Voting God's Politics Action Guide

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Top Stories:

Wallis: Faith Should Be a ‘Thorn in the Side’ of Politicians
by Staff Writer
Evangelical Covenant Church News 10-27-2006
“(Hope is) a choice you make because of a thing called faith,” Wallis said. “Faith is for the big stuff. Faith is for the big things, the things that seem impossible—they’re too much for us, it’s too big. The odds are against us, they say. That’s why they call it faith.” He noted that English Parliament member and reformer William Wilberforce introduced anti-slavery legislation for 30 years before it finally passed. Wilberforce, he added, was inspired and counseled by John Newton, the former slave trader who repented and subsequently wrote “Amazing Grace.” »read more

His Goal: A Faith-based Push To Ease Poverty
by Phil Haslanger
The Capital Times (Madison) 10-28-2006
When Jim Wallis' bus rolled into Madison two years ago in the run-up to the 2004 election, he was trying to get voters and candidates focused on issues facing people who live in poverty. "We did pretty well in making poverty an issue in the cities where we were," he said in an interview this week. "It did not become a national issue." ... Now Wallis is looking at the 2008 presidential election as a place to get poverty issues back on the national agenda. "I think we're in a much better position now," he said. "The bus tour was a harbinger of this." »read more

Wallis vs. Boyd: A friendly evangelical smackdown
by Pamela Miller
StarTribune (Minneapolis) 10-27-2006
What spectacle -- unadvertised, at that -- could have brought out this throng? A sports championship? Rock concert? No, something that in this venue is even bigger: a debate between a couple of evangelical Christian preachers. The Revs. Jim Wallis and Greg Boyd squeezed onstage in front of overflow listeners to tackle the topic "Faith and Politics: Should They Mix?" »read more

More Sojourners in the News:

Changing the focus: Religious moderates stress 'moral center'
The Capital Times

Faith Groups Shift Toward Political Center
The Argus

Experts: Republican Party Losing Hold on Christian Conservative Base
VOA News

Values Voters: Iraq High in Importance
CBN News

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


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