Back in January, before the first votes were cast in the Iowa Caucuses, I shared a few thoughts about this year’s election. Now that the election is only 53 days away, I thought I'd share them with you again.
In January I said that Christians had four main responsibilities this election season: to pray, teach, challenge and vote. (You can read the whole post from January HERE.)
I hope we’ve all been praying, and I hope we’ll all vote. But, as this election season has unfolded, I’ve come to more fully appreciate just how important our teaching and challenging responsibilities are, too.
Our teaching and challenging responsibilities are important because I'm not sure our elected officials understand just how much the teachings of Jesus lead us as Christians to be concerned for the most vulnerable among us. I don't think they know how often Jesus teaches us to exhibit a bias toward the poor and marginalized, to put the last first, and to place the needs of others ahead of our own. And if our elected officials don't realize that, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
As Christians, our values intersect with more than just a few hot button issues. When we only demand that politicians hear our (increasingly diverse) Christian views on LGBTQ issues and abortion, for example, we let our elected officials off too easy.
Our Christian concern for all people as holy individuals created in the image of God ought to influence our approaches to health care, creation care, education reform, criminal justice reform, wealth and wage inequality, gun control, poverty initiatives, racial discrimination, women’s rights, immigration, defense and military spending, and a host of other issues, too.
But we can’t expect candidates to understand all the ways our Christian values intersect with public policy if we’re not willing to teach them.
And, we can’t expect candidates to take the broader implications of our Christian values into account if we’re not willing to challenge them to do so and then hold them accountable for how they govern.
The people we elect this fall at the local, state and national level will either make our communities look more like God's kingdom or less so. That means that who we elect and how they govern is extremely important.
So write a letter to your school board candidates. Send an email to your city council members. Visit your state representative. Remind your local, state and national officials that your faith leads you to be personally concerned about how the most vulnerable in our society are treated.
And let your elected officials know that you intend to evaluate their policies through the lens of your faith in Christ who teaches us to care for the least among us as if they were the Lord himself (Matt 25:31-46).
And, if you haven't already, take a few minutes to read (or re-read) my post from last January, too.
See you Sunday.