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November 3rd, 2012
09:00 PM ET

My Take: On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus

Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.

By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN

It seems frivolous, even foolish.

On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.

As votes are counted to elect a president, thousands of Christians will take the bread and the cup to remember their crucified Lord.

As winners are projected and the electoral map is updated, Christians of many denominations will sing their praises and proclaim their loyalty to Jesus.

It seems ridiculous, even silly.

After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes. We know this because people have recited this same tired mantra before every presidential election.

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Our fears, our hopes, our worries and our struggles are the currency that buys our votes. And how do politicians and their supporters acquire this precious currency? They invest billions of dollars to foment fear, inspire hope, create worry and exploit our struggles.

It’s a power play. Some of us are pawns, and some of us are participants. But some of us are choosing a different part.

I initiated the Election Day Communion Campaign out of a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by our identity and unity in Christ. Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of congregations nationwide: the church being the church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its loyalty to Jesus.

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Gathering for Communion on Election Day seems fitting, for the practice of Communion is an inherently political act. It is both a pledge of allegiance to Jesus and a declaration of independence from all other powers making claims on our bodies, minds and souls.

Far too often, the church has abandoned its first love for the siren song of political parties promising protection, prosperity and peace. Far too many times, the church has ceded the practice of its faith to the spiritual and the private while leaving others to address matters of justice. And far too frequently, the church has attempted to speak truth to power while seeking and relying on that same power for protection.

The bread and the cup are God’s antidotes to our fickle memories. As we eat and drink together, we remember that all things fall under the lordship of Christ. We remember our sin and need to repent.

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We remember that God has lifted up the humble, filled the hungry with good things, and chosen to reveal God’s strength through our weakness.

We remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the church, the holy nation that transcends all human-made walls, boundaries and borders.

As we gather at the table, we remember that the power to redeem, to save, and to transform comes not from atop the seat of power but from within the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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We will gather for Election Day Communion not because we think that the issues at stake in this election are unimportant or that our votes don’t really matter. No, we will gather for Communion because we think that the issues at stake in all elections are far too important to be relegated to our votes alone.

The Lord’s Supper reminds followers of Jesus to practice the politics of Jesus. To me, practicing the politics of Jesus means working to protect the sanctity of all human life, whether it is found in the womb, in prison, or in countries at war against us.

It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence. It means practicing an economy based on generosity and mutual aid.

It means offering care and compassion to suffering people regardless of their immigration status, economic class or religious practice.

It means being good stewards of God’s good creation. And, most of all, it means allowing God’s kingdom to break into the entirety of our lives, from the privacy of our homes to the politics we practice in public.

The bread and the cup keep calling me back to the table inscribed with memory. There, I remember God’s choice for the transfer of power. There, I remember where to go with my fears, my hopes, my worries and my struggles. At the table, with my sisters and brothers, I am in the presence of the Holy.

Though I’m interested in the outcome of the presidential election, I won’t be watching the projected results as they are announced. I’ve made a prior commitment. I intend to honor it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Paul

    CNN, do you not read how your readers comment on the Jesus Crap. Lay off........

    November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • saggyroy

      I find it very entertaining.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  2. Bobber

    Why did this make a top headline today? Are we trying to sway the christian vote?

    November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  3. robert

    What an incredibly irresponsible article.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  4. ReasonableXX

    People who "vote for Jesus" ahead of understanding and critically analyzing the issues, shouldn't be allowed to vote at all. It is shameful and not even close to what was intended when this great country was founded.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  5. Todd

    There is no place in government for religion. Keep your beliefs in your home and church where they belong. It's is your man given right to believe in fairy tales if you must but until God/Jesus comes down and reveals itself let's stop walking around acting like it's all real and true. And DEFINITELY STOP trying to influence our laws and public policy based on religious nonsense!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  6. A Reasoner

    Right then. A vote for the guy who insisted every law of the old testament should be carried out. It's completely...Oh, my neighbor's floating in her pool! Must be a witch! Everyone gather kindling! 2,000 years of nonsense is enough! Just stop it!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  7. msadr

    I find it interesting that abortion was far more commonplace in the days of Jesus than it is today. Yet there is no record of Jesus ever mentioning it at all. Not once. What Jesus DID do was to promote the rights of women every single chance he got, even to the point of risking his life. So the authors assumption that Jesus would vote against a woman's right to choose is not supported by any recorded action or word of Jesus. I am a Christian. I follow Jesus – not any preacher, priest or pope. I would encourage other Christians to examine scientifically established facts and think for themselves. I am not just one crazy Christian with an unusual opinion. There are millions of Christians like me, most notably, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Funny. For a moment, lets gloss over the fact that he's a mythical character.
      None of his disciples were women. And he told his followers to adhere to the laws of Leviticus and Moses, which describe women as second-class humans.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • saggyroy

      I keep reading that women were the ones that actually bankrolled Jesus and his cult followers.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    Dear Mennonites, before you talk about the Lord's Supper, you have to enter the Kingdom of God. How to enter? Where to enter? The gate is the rebirth. What is the rebirth? It is the sacramental baptism, insti-tuted by Christ himself. You need to be born out of Water (this is the Water of baptism) and Spirit (not born again). Of course, the baptism must be received in a state of faith. Yet, one who has been baptized without having faith in Jesus should simply remember that divine act, and receive the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection which helps us to love God and our fellow human beings.

    Dear Mennonite fellow, I don't hate you but Iove you, yet, I have to tell you that your doctrine is wrong, and that the Mennonites don't belong to the worldwide Christian Church which keeps the one holy sacramental baptism which is not allowed to be repeated. The Christian Church also teaches that baptism is a call for discipleship. Everybody who is baptized should follow Jesus in daily life in the power of Jesus death and resurrection. Through baptism we get metaphysically connected with the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection. Through our reason we can only regard the gospel as true, but when we want receive divine power, we need to be baptized (someone who has been baptized as an infant can simply remember his infant baptism; no rebaptism).

    Infant baptism: Infant baptism is valid because yet infants can believe (John the baptist converted in the womb of his mother Elisabeth; once Jesus cured a blind man, and people implied that the blind man had yet sinned in the womb of his mother). Hence, when yet embryos can believe or sin why shouldn't it be possible that an infant believes or sins.

    The Christian Church baptizes infants believing that they are yet able to believe. That is the mystery of infant baptism.

    Of course, today many infants get baptized although they don't believe in Jesus. This is very sad. However, the baptism is valid, and becomes effective as soon as the certain person becomes a believer, and remembers his or her infant baptism.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • visitor

      Have you....talked to an infant that doesn't believe? Oh you who are wise in the ways of infant-speak?

      Are you sure you aren't a witch? Do you float? Do you weigh as much as a couple of chickens?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      The mystrey of infant baptism is no mystrey at all. It is a ritual that brings in a good dollar for the church and the ecclestiac doing the deed and cash rules.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • bryan

      Please give me some of whatever you're smoking... Infant sin? Embryonic belief? Wow...just wow...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  9. eloe

    The elections are about politics. No matter what one believes, they should not vote for the person their religion tells them to vote for. People should educate themselves on worldly subjects, like healthcare and economy, give their vote to someone they trust, then go and worship if they must.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • snowboarder

      unfortunately, when it comes to politics, "trust" should be the farthest from your mind.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  10. paulkoopman

    The only 2 things I have to say are 1) great article, and 2) the only thing more asinine than a conservative troll is an atheist troll. It's amusing how often a Jesus-centered op ed that isn't focused on self-righteous morality brings these two paragons of stupid together.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Bayousara

      Please speak for yourself, only yourself.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Realist

      http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

      November 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • MalcomR

      How's it feel to base your life on a 2000 year old myth? Ever read the bible? If you had, and you are not congenitally stupid, you would be an atheist too.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Realist

      That is why everyone should visit and study ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • paulkoopman

      Well if my mind isn't changed by a few internet trolls, surely a WEBSITE will do the trick, right? Conversion through snark. The apostles were apparently doing it wrong.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  11. AmericanPeasant

    Amen to this great article. When Obama decided to support Mandate on Life in 08 and McCain pretty much declared a continuation of Bush policy I chose to vote for Jesus. Jesus wins my vote again this time as Obama implemented Mandate on Life and the tyrannical NDAA (indefinate detention for American citizens.) Mitt has a record for implementing Mandate on Life and dodged the Mandate on Life issue in the debates. Mitt also supports NDAA. Mitt and Obama are the EQUAL of evils Don't pick between the Equal of Evils, pick the ultimate good, Vote For Jesus, the ultimate protest vote.

    Plus with the way the Dems and Repubs are taking this country to ruin the only one that can save us now is God. If Obama or Mitt is elected you can expect trillion dollar defecits, defunding of medicare, possible war with iran, rampant corruption, continued outsourcing, skewwed "free trade" that kills our economy, doling out billions of dollars a year to other countries even known enemy states like Pakistan, ever rising college tuition costs, bigger class divides, being forced to buy services from corporations, restrictions on speech, and an increasing Tyrant State resulting from policies like NDAA and Patriot Act which BOTH parties support overwhelmingly.

    You can't trust these corrupt tyranny loving Dems and Repubs. The oligarchy parties of the DNC and GOP have come to care more about their own party, money, and power than they care for this great nation. Our best hope is that in 2016 the American people will wake up and push these evil oligarch parties out of power with a Third Party Wave.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • snowboarder

      no one can save us but ourselves.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  12. saggyroy

    How about this: On election day, all of you believers just stay home pray to elect the next president. The rest of us will go to the polls.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • MalcomR

      I posted that idea here days ago... 🙂

      November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Sane Person

      lol, great idea. They wont do it tho, as usual thier words define thier christ, not thier actions.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • saggyroy

      Great minds think alike !

      November 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      If only....

      November 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  13. Annirich

    Remember Benghazi! Obo and Hillary purposefully did NOT send help because their cover-up story of "it's the video" was false. They were gun running to the radical islamists! And the MSM isn't telling you a thing about it!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • ghastly

      So how many guns did Bush run during 9/11?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Bayousara

      Wow, you sure are wrapped up in misinformation. Don't you have something better to do? How about helping with Hur. Sandy relief? Don't live near there, then go to a Red Cross office and ask to volunteer in your community. That should keep your mind off the Rush.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Harrison

      Its a conspiracy I tells ya!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  14. Smoothshocker

    There is no Jesus, only Zuul!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  15. Jimmy

    I am officially sick of hearing about religion.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Justyn Kase

      This isn't about religion, this is about God and true Christianity. God wants us to have a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus. He doesn't want us to be religious, religion only distances a person from God. Religion is man seeking God, Christianity is God seeking man. Only repentance of sin and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour gives a person eternal life with God. By being religious, you are following a bunch of manmade rules but a relationship with Jesus, you're following God's heart.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Justyn Kase Didn't you hear what the man just said?!! Leave him alone!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  16. Erik VonDaniken

    Our Gods are aliens, literally.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Erik VonDaniken heavily referenced the Bronze Age tribal writings known as the bible to prove his "ideas" about space aliens.

      LOL

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • saggyroy

      My wife has a coffee cup with kittens holding a heart. I can see a future Von D. 4000 years from now finding it and determining that "...because of Obamacare, kittens performed heart surgery"

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • snowboarder

      aliens with sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from gods.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  17. tokencode

    Religion is a cancer and the cure is knowledge

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Realist

      Find knowledge here: http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

      November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  18. No Theocracy for USA

    Yes, I encourage all xians to proclaim their loyalty to jesus on election day by voting "chicken sandwich" as a POTUS write-in candidate, thereby reaffirming your collective staunch support for Dan Cathay and Chick-Fil-A.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  19. Really?

    No matter what law any politician puts into place people will find a way to do what they want. By the end of they day, you should vote for a president based on multiple factors not just a religious one. And from what I have seen and researched, Romney has lied, screwed people over, and made millions of dollars by doing so. Sure Obama isnt perfect but as with any election he is the lesser of two evils and has done more to keep this country a float after 8 years of bush than Romney could do with his five point plan. Anyways, we can vote for who we want, Gods plan will be done and not our own.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Annirich

      So you're satisfied with 14.5% REAL unemployment? 1.3% GDP-pathetic; $16+TRILLION of debt? What an uninformed fool you are. Obo is taking America to a European Socialist Model. Do you want to see America die? Because if he gets in there again that's exactly what is going to happen! Obo is a fraud and a MuslimMarxist. Oh and btw, "Forward" is the name of the Communist publication Frank Davis, Obo's real father, published in Chicago. Get your head straight and do your homework.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Harrison

      Annrich, please tell us, what color is the sky in your world?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Yes Really!

      Great post. Thank you. The Republicans could come up with a good candidate, so they picked what they assumed was the lesser of their evils. Now the country is considering him a viable candidate??? - I must say... it boggles the mind.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  20. rosethornne

    The Sky Fairy is displeased with you and is sending the Fire Monster and the Flying Spaghetti Monster to initiate Ragnarok, whereupon Odin will electrocute you and a Nyad will drown you while Pixies eat your brains.

    Oh wait, that's just a hangover causrd by overindulging in the magic wine.

    Never mind.

    Carry on.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • ghastly

      RAMEN!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.