Multiply Justice

Nov. 6 will not bring in the Kingdom of God

Jim Wallis writes at Sojourners:

Most people in America, whether they are religious or not, prefer consistency in the faith community to hypocrisy. One of the reasons the fastest growing demographic in religious affiliation surveys is now “none of the above” is that too many people see more religious hypocrisy than consistency.

Religion is not, at its core, politically partisan. But too often religion becomes a political tool; and we see that on both sides of the aisle. That does not mean people of faith shouldn’t have strong convictions or feelings about political issues or shouldn’t vote one way or another; or that there is a moral equivalency between the political parties and it doesn’t matter which way we vote. Elections are important, and people of faith should be voting as citizens and by their most basic values.

But let’s be clear: On Nov. 6, neither a Republican nor Democratic victory will bring in the Kingdom of God.

Elections can sometimes, however, set a framework for what can or can’t be done for the things we believe in. And there are important differences between the candidates at every level up and down the ballots we will cast next week. But people of faith — and their leaders — should be more prophetic than partisan during election seasons. And the moral issues we care about should be more important to us than the candidates or the parties they represent.

… With more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about poverty — and with freeing the poor and oppressed as central components of the Gospel’s “good news” — shouldn’t we consider how the election will affect the poor and oppressed? Or ask how we should treat the millions of undocumented immigrants among us, who clearly fit the biblical category of “the stranger?” In both cases, how we treat “the least of these,” Jesus says in the 25th chapter of Matthew, is how we treat him. Doesn’t our voting have something to do with that? Many of us Christians are “pro-life,” but aren’t the nearly 20,000 children around the world who die every day of utterly preventable hunger and disease just as much a “sanctity-of-life” issue as the approximately 3,000 abortions that occurred in our country today.

… Then there is the care of God’s creation, or the resolution of the world’s inevitable conflicts without the horrible failures and human costs of our endless wars. Aren’t Christians supposed to be peacemakers? We were reminded this week with the stark reality that while God created the physical world to be good, it is also dangerous. And our failure to be good stewards of that which God made is resulting in the increasing severity of storms and devastating changes of other weather patterns.

Don’t all those issues involve biblical values too?

… It’s important to have a dose of humility and recognize that we all have the capacity to be inconsistent. But let’s not use that as an excuse to remain that way. Let people see our religious consistency on the issues, not our political hypocrisy at election time by assigning ultimate biblical values to our different political choices.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners.

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