Voting Through the Lens of the Poor

By Jennifer Svetlik 10-23-2008

Around the nation, Christians are lifting up the biblical call to social justice and care for the poorest and most vulnerable, globally and in their communities, through participation in Sojourners' Vote Out Poverty campaign.

Park Street Church in Boston organized a Poverty Sunday event last month that included a commitment by church members to "vote through the lens of the poor." Thomas Keown, attendee of Sojourners' Pentecost 2008 training and lead organizer of the Park Street Church event, describes the event in the Metro Boston newspaper:

The shoeboxes bore the words 'Drop Poverty Cards Here.' The refrigerator-box sized cardboard placard quoted McCain and Obama, saying government has a responsibility to the poor; Jesus, advising that whatever we do 'for the least of these,' we do for him; and Solomon (the wise bloke), imploring us to give voice to the voiceless. The postcards, to be mailed to candidates in November's elections, began with 'Because of my faith I pledge to make overcoming poverty central to how I cast my ballot.'

In the op-ed, Keown reflects on how educated Bostonites that are also evangelical Christians and evangelicals that speak out against poverty are both groups perceived to be outside the norm. He suggests, though, that these perceptions are changing during this election season:

Candidates who previously assumed that a pro-life platform guaranteed the Christian vote can no longer do so. Many of today's young evangelicals are demanding an ethos from their representatives that extends beyond the womb, one that also protects and upholds the dignity of the living in life as well as gestation.

Park Street Church is one of the hundreds of churches that have hosted Poverty Sunday events over the past month, uniting with one voice to pray for an end to poverty and apathy, sign the Vote Out Poverty pledge, and ask their congressional candidates to make ending poverty a priority in the next Congress.

It's not too late to sign the pledge and ask your congressional candidates to do the same!

Jennifer Svetlik is a policy and organizing assistant at Sojourners.

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