Poverty

What's at Stake

With perhaps the most consequential election of any of our lifetimes only a few weeks away, it’s time to take a step back and reflect on what is at stake. We’ve heard a lot about personalities, seen far too many negative ads, and been spun so many times our heads are swimming. But none of that should determine our vote.

As Christians, we know that we will not be able to vote for the kingdom of God. It is not on the ballot. Yet there are very important choices to make that will significantly impact the common good and the health of this nation—and of the world. So let us all exercise our crucial right to vote and to apply our Christian conscience to those decisions. And in the finite and imperfect political decisions of this and any election, let us each promise to respect the political conscience of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Here are 10 issues to consider in casting a ballot.

1. The economy is in grave danger. This fall, the financial systems of the nation and the world nearly collapsed. Three out of the nation’s top five investment banks were not able to weather the financial storms triggered by the subprime lending crisis, and the squalls shook the stock market as well. And now a massive government bailout of private debt is reshaping the system. Ordinary Americans are worried about their jobs, their homes, college and retirement funds, and, much worse, a downward economic spiral that affects all of us.

2. “Poverty is now our next door neighbor.” That’s what a hospital administrator said to me during my annual physical. More and more people are feeling the effects of foreclosures, declining housing equity and opportunity, job losses, stagnant wages, and the lack of affordable health care. Those at the bottom, of course, are in the worse shape of all.

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Sojourners Magazine November 2008
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