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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. In Reason I Trust

    Since your voting for a fictional character let join in on the fun(stupidity);

    My vote is for Superman!

    My vote is for Santa Claus!

    My vote is for Harry Potter!

    These characters are just as real as Jesus. Please, do grow up, it's embarrassing.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Buddy

      You are so sad.....just a lonely ugly little person, looking for attention

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Jeff

      I'm gonna vote Batman

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • glorydays

      AH....Christian "judge not lest ye be judged" thinking....gotta LOVE it!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • GAW

      The God of reason has spoken. But he's only as good as the ones who use it.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • I am God

      Where the hell is James Bond in all of that?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  2. Reason

    I say one should examine the policies of each candidate and determine who more aligns with the teachings of Christ.

    One might find that a candidate claiming to be one thing is actually the other.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have no interest in whether a candidate's views align with the teachings of Christ or any other religious myth. I do have an interest in whether the candidate understands that this is a secular government, that religion is not the law, and that times change.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • snowboarder

      very astute tom.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Reason

      Love. Compassion. Care for others. Help for the poor. That's what I was talking about.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  3. Dennis

    I think the basic idea of the article is that we won't be saved by the Republican or Democratic party. Christians who are involved in politics seem to forget this at times. They get wrapped up in this or that and become just as much a problem as the problem that they are focusing on. To the Christians I say, focus on what it says Christians should do which is summed up in "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself." I also think it is important to remember according to the Bible, Christians should be focusing on sharing the Good News of Christ. Politics are corrupt and that is a fact. Politics or political parties will not save anybody or give good advice on how to live your life.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  4. Buddy

    I am amazed at the atheist claim to be on the side of science and feel they are intellectual !

    Einstein himself detested the atheist–he referred to them as fanatical slaves to their grudges and are incapable of not being able to bear the concept of the beautiful structures of this world or ability to grasp the concept of "music of the spheres"

    Einstein claimed that although the atheist proclaimed him to be atheist–he was not, and hated them for trying to use him in their desperate search for validity. Einstein claimed himself as a Pantheist....one who identifies God with the Universe

    So sad....poor atheist....they cling to nothing....believe nothing....and when they try to claim intelligence ....show the world their utter ignorance

    Be gone Satan

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Meh

      Was with you till the be gone Satan part.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      "So sad....poor atheist....they cling to nothing....believe nothing....and when they try to claim intelligence ....show the world their utter ignorance"

      the false dichotomies are always entertaining.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • I am God

      Hey Buddy, I think it is time you take that load of crap some where else. No one claimed Einstein was an Atheist, since he was a persecuted Jew who sought asylum in the United States during World War II.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Rod

      Nonsense. Einstein was an atheist himself and deplored Christians using his name to support their religion.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Dave

      Einstein was atheist.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Buddy, you are misinformed. Read a book. One that isn't a bible or written by some Christian zealot.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • glorydays

      "detest" and "hate" are words often associated with Christianity. Why? Didn't Christ profess love?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  5. Jennie

    If your vote truly was for Jesus, it would be before this election. I think this is a bit immature in addition to pastors telling members of their congregations to vote a certain way after receiving "prophetic" insight from the most racist program that exists, Fox News. When the church is courageous enough to learn and engage with the current and address the hidden hateful roots of racism in this country and on the pulpit, let me know!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Reason

      I think that every time a person gives in to collective thought whilst sacrificing reason, it degrades the entire voting process. For someone to vote a certain way solely upon the recommendation of their pastor is deeply disturbing to me, being a man of reason and critical thought.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  6. Jeff

    Religion and politics should be separate from each other.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  7. glorydays

    So much for religious freedom.....

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  8. Penny Wright

    Jesus was a socialist.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Edweird69

      Penny Wright... is 100% right!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  9. Tom Mitchell

    What happened to separation of church and state? We need to keep everyone's silly religion out of the White House and out of all forms of government. No belief in any religion has ever been good for anyone. It's about time people open their eyes and use their own brains to understand that all religions and all gods are works of fiction.

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

      From the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

      "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Mel

      I'm sorry but did I miss something? How are people gathering at a church at their own free will on election day a violation of separation of church and state? You non-belivers just freak out whenever you encounter someone who has made the choice to believe in something that you do not. We are not out to get you.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  10. ME

    CNN needs to stop these articles. All they do is make fun of Christians. Everyone has their belief – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu etc etc. Stop it CNN. Why point fingers at Christians??? Out of many we are ONE!!!!

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

      because Christians are the ones responsible for devolving society here in this country (the USA).

      November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • guest

      Seyedibar- so you think. There are many other Religions responsible for that. Even atheism that isn't a religion plays its own part.
      CNN STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 5, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Primewonk

      Except that it is the religious right (oxymoron) fundamentalis nutters who have done everything they can to rip this country apart. The are every bit as dangerous as the Muslim nutters who flew planes into buildings.

      November 5, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  11. Kathleen

    What a brave piece–because it does take courage these days to state a belief in God, in Christ. The howling the arises at the name of Jesus is loud, mocking, and must on some level. I think, evidences a threatened position. Atheists want and have the freedom to be, to speak their minds, but since they've been persecuted in the past by less-than accepting religious people, atheists now can use that excuse to do precisely what they say they hate–persecute. They have become what they hate. It shouldn't take aggression OR courage to be able to state one's belief in this country and too many Christians now remain quiet, fearing the onslaught of criticism by a very loud minority. So well done, Schloneger, on speaking your belief in a thoughtful and respectful way.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Seyedibar

      It doesn't take courage to believe in gods. It's simple cowardice to trade evidence and science and history for useless faith.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • MalcomR

      Yes, atheists feel threatened, you horrible person. You blithely toss off the persecution of non-believers. Unlike you who are only interested in the survival of your imaginary immortal soul (arrogant self-absorption and childish fear) atheists are terrified for the future of humanity as a whole, given how easy it is to sway most people with b***s**t.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Primewonk

      Christians claim that 90% of the country is Christian. You own the White House, the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court. You own 50 state governorships, 50 state legislatures, and 50 state supreme courts.

      And yet, you have the fucking gall to claim you are being persecuted. How exactly does that work?

      November 5, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  12. MalcomR

    Hey CNN, why do you never apply that hard-headed journalistic criticism to religion? Can you not fact-check god? If not, why? Is it because of the total lack of facts available for god? Or that it's obvious mythology (talking snakes and donkeys? Really?).

    Come on CNN. Quit pandering to the ignorant. Oh, wait. Without them, you would have almost no readership. Same for everything else I guess. If we don't pander to the childish inanity of the religious our sales will suffer, bottom line.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Mel

      Why do the atheists feel the need to read a blog on belief. You know it is going to be about God and or religion. Something you do not believe in.Then you come here and run your mouth about how we are all morons because we won't accept you non-belive.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  13. Realist

    The world would be a better place if everyone accepted the fact that ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

    November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Good link!

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

      Completely ignorant and wrong. A world without God is a world without value for life. If we are no more than a few dollars worth of minerals and water, an organic mistake that exists in excess, a thing that the world would be a better off with fewer of, than why should we condemn the removal of these organisms? There are nearly 7 billion people in the world and experts tell us that the world should have only 2 billion people in it. So as a society we need to kill off most of our kind for self preservation. Why shouldn't the strong get rid of the weak? After all your version of reality eliminates right and wrong, morality, and notions of sin. As an individual, if this life is all there is, why should I put up with a straight life of sacrifice and work and self denial? Why shouldn't I force myself on someone I am attracted to instead of accepting their right to self determination? Why should I let the rich live rich while I live with less when I can take what I want with a gun?

      A world with out God is a world without civility or greater purpose. The communist nations have tried living without God and they are now the nations that are turning to God by the millions.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Edweird69

      @DJones... really? I've lived without your imaginary friend all of my life. I'm growing old, and have never needed your imaginary friend. I have a wonderful life. I couldn't imagine submitting to horror that religion has inflicted on humanity. Religion is a disease that inflicts itself on the vulnerable. Those who don't submit are ostricized, even killed. Babies are born atheist, until some adult infects them.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Dave

      DJones is one of those people who believe that we have no value if there is no God. As if to say: I was not created by a father, I just AM...and therefore I am nothing? No, we still have morality (a stronger one, based on human kindness and reason instead of proclamations from a book), we still have value.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  14. Joshua

    I completely disagree. Taking care of fellow humans that really do exist is far more important than trying to figure out what might please someone who died 2000 years ago.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • MalcomR

      This is correct.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  15. buuubbba

    If you don't vote....you have NO RIGHT to complain for the next 4 years!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • saggyroy

      I disagree because we still have to pay taxes no matter what. If I don't have to pay taxes, then I won't complain.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  16. rodboy

    We look for ways to ridicule Christians, but if we practiced love God and thy neighbor as thyself how could it be worse than – a check in the mail, me first , abortion in every pot, free birth control for the ladies of the evening.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • frank

      The truth of the matter is that you religious folk are lying through your teeth. Religion is a fabricated story that roots itself in the minds of innocent children, who then grow up to spread it. An infectious disease and nothing more.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • MalcomR

      Correct.

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

      So it's Christianity or birth control?

      As a female, I vote for birth control.

      I get the feeling you are a male or more specifically, another female-obsessed male.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • saggyroy

      Believers can be broken down into 1 of 2 categories: Hypocrites or Fools.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  17. Plumbline

    We still need to vote........for which our forefathers fought and died for the right too...........

    November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  18. julie

    I am Catholic and I will vote for Romney. I will stand up with the vast majority in this country who
    were infuriated when Obamacare was shoved down our throats against our wills before anyone could
    even read it. You don't step on the toes of the majority and then think it won't come back to bite you and bite you hard.
    I cannot wait for Tuesday to send a message to every politician in Washington who thinks he/she knows better
    than we do what we want or need. Tuesday can't come fast enough for me!

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

      julie – that will simply install a different group of politicians who think they know better than you.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Harrison

      Julie, your vote will be drowned by the countless " Catholic" Women , a majority of which USE BIRTH CONTROL, who were extremely Happy that our President spoke up for thier rights. And what of this Presidents care of the Poor, the elderly and the unrepresented in our Soceity? How does that stack up against a non-Christian and if you really consider yourself a Catholic, a Heretic?Is Heresey now Suddenly OK with You?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Walnetto

      Obviously, you don't see to remember your Bible. "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" and "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord" You are shouting your sins to the world.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Scott

      Nonsense. The key components of obamacare have overwhelming support, and the law was passed by ELECTED representatives. It wasn't shoved down anyone's throat. In fact, the majority supported the law until the repubs. began their misinformation campaign. Even now, it is only a minority that opposes it on conservative grounds; some oppose it just because it didn't go far enough.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Seyedibar

      obamacare was a republican invention The GOP was just angry that a black man beat them to such social progress.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • visitor

      It was actually up on Huffpo. Why didn't you read it? Big words?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • vossrg

      I am so sorry for your impending loss.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Dave

      "Vast majority"? Not even close. I was unhappy with Obamacare at first because I believe it didn't go far enough. We are the only first world nation without universal healthcare- instead of healing the sick like Jesus did, we play these selfish little games.

      Romney stands for greed, crony capitalism, and it is very important to remember that he is a member of a cult. This man has no business running this nation.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare

      I wonder what god would think of you voting for a Mormon. God would be ashamed that you're not willing to help those who are in need of quality healthcare. You are in the minority as most Americans support Obamacare, which was modeled after Romney's healthcare law, so no matter who you vote for, Obamacare won't be going anywhere. I hope you're in the South, I hear it's a really terrible place to live and I don't want you ignorance crowding better parts of the country.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Chris Gose

      Yea, well I'm a Christian and haven't forgotten the two botched wars, 150,000 civilian deaths, and economic recession shoved down our throats by the Bush regime. Conservatives have been whining like a bunch of obstructionist losers since day 1 of Obama's presidency, it's always something new: Bhengazi or 'obamacare,' boo friggin' hoo. And while conservatives are GREAT whiners, they have no real solutions; the conservative approach to doing their jobs is by ignoring their jobs, the hands-off negligent approach to governance that landed us in this recession that obama has slowly but surely been pulling us out of.

      As a Christian, I had a duty to vote Obama ... for the sake of my children and our future.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Kathleen

      Julie, many bishops of the Catholic Church supported Obama's health care reforms because they mirrored the good work the Church already does through their Catholic hospitals in charity care, 2nd only to the U.S. government. What many Catholics oppose is the HHS mandate that would require our hospitals and social services to pay for procedures and birth control that go against our beliefs, that go against our consciences. What's interesting is that Obama will wait until next year to enforce the fines and prosecution associated with the mandate. But yes, Catholics who vote according to the Church's beliefs (a Church that they claim to be a part of) will vote against Obama.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  19. 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.

    What is the objective of baptism?

    It is God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ: God, the Father, delieverd God, the Son, Jesus, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    Everybody who believes that and gets baptized becomes righteous. Righteousness means that we overcome the lust of our body, and love God and our fellow human beings through the releasing power of Jesus, which we received through baptism. Through baptism we have died and resurrected with Jesus. This means that we do not only regard the gospel as true but have experienced it physically through baptism.

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

      You strain at a gnat but swallow a camel.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Fitter876

      Yo dude, are you on bath salts?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      The objective of baptism is to try and indoctrinate the child into the faith through their family and achieve the goal of having another sheepie to fleece when that child becomes an adult. It has worked quite well, so far, but let us all hope that saner minde will prevail in the end.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Tony

      I am not a Menonnite but they are known to be devout Christians. The fact that you read them out of the Christian religion indicates that you are a self righteous narrow minded bigot, even though you claim to love them. People like you drive more people from God than you attract.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  20. Dystopiax

    Episodically I recommend this "classic" reference work: "The Sacred Canopy" by Sociologist Peter L. Berger. It is a thesis on the universal inclination of those in power, or seeking power, over others to POINT TO THE SKY and make two claims: 1) Omnipotent Whatsits exist UP THERE, 2) I have a SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP with it/them. I will intercede with It/Them on your behalf, if you will give me something of earthly value.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
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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.