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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. Wise One

    Religion has no place in politics whatsoever. America is a land of religious freedom and we don't want to turn this election debate from "my political candidate is better than yours" to "my God is better than yours".

    November 4, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • mpouxesas

      The author seems to forget a lot of things as he is trying to remember jesus's teachings. He forgets (pc for ignores) that the majority of those uneducated americans who vote for republicans are the people who, at the dinner table, saying the grace and thanking jesus for the food in their plate, and asking jesus to give to those who don't have it, YET at the same time, at every opportunity they get they bash the same people for whom they 'pray' that they are lazy bums who need to get a job ....

      November 4, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • rodboy

      mpoux – there is a big difference between intelligence and education. Being seated in a garage for 16 years does not make one a car, nor does passing tests for 16 years make one intelligent. Age and common sense are two things that come with time. Work a manager of engineers for awhile and you will learn this for yourself.

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

      mpouxesas, I'm a fiscally conservative atheist and I absolutely am going to vote for a Republican. Don't delude yourself from teachings of liberal media that all conservatives are right-wing nuts believing in an Iron Age God, furthermore there is no way that any american citizen can truthfully proclaim the "poor" don't get enough help. The "poor" in the western civilizations are the 1%'ers of the world. So knock it off you hypocrite.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • tf

      yea, if so called christians read the bible they would not be into politics, they use religion for power smh.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  2. pepperstarsky

    dummy

    November 4, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  3. Agnar150

    Unfortunately we need to face reality. Jesus will not help us in this case.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • Ken

      Or in any case

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  4. veep

    Mennonites are a cult just like Mormonism.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • old golfer

      The same could be stated about ALL religions you know. Actually, the Mennonite's just stopped moving around 1650 in their beliefs of Christian religion. They are good neighbors for me. They work hard. They also know well how to work the system. They use the horse and buggy all around here. Horse dung on all our roads. They pay no license, insurance, gasoline tax or any other contribution to the making and maintenance of our highways. They give a service in their Church every week. Every other week here it is in German language. So, look into their past and you might understand just a little about them.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • kake79

      I think you both have a bit of a misperception about Mennonites. Yes, there are still Old Order Mennonites around that dress plain, use horse and buggy, etc. But a vast majority of Mennonites are just like any other Christian and you couldn't tell them apart from anyone else.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  5. Mike

    As did George Carlin, I will worship the sun, pray to Joe Pesce and do what you will be doing when you go to the polls. I will just be doing it in the privacy of my own home.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  6. bob level

    I thought only FoxNews ran BS stories like this..Come on CNn, you can do better.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  7. ObamaJoe

    Obviously,,,,,,,,,,,,this author is calling voters for " latter day jesus",,,,,,,,,,,not blue day Jesus or Red day Jesus,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Latter day Jesus is Not Jesus !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Scholar

      While I don't like to take sides in an election because I don't like arguments, I think it's prudent to explain the "eye of a needle" passage.

      The "eye of a needle" is the name of a very short passageway in Jerusalem. It would be difficult for a camel to get through, but not impossible. In order for the camel to go through, it must be on its knees. What Jesus is saying here is that the only way for a rich man to get to heaven is to go on his knees and worship God.

      Frequently this passage is misunderstood, so I thought I'd just provide an explanation :)

      November 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  8. tony

    God isn't real. He is monster who lives in a cloud city a good way for closeted gay men to make a nice living re-telling stories from thousands of years ago. Politics directly impacts all of us.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • rodboy

      Tony, you don't read much or know the laws of physics. Education is sometimes like placing loaded firearms in the hands of educated dimwits. The results are just sad.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  9. Ryan

    Why don't you just stay home and pray for the winner instead of voting?

    November 4, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • uml1uml

      Because it is what God wants. If He did not, there won't be elections.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  10. Josh

    Thats fine and all dude but we still have a country to run.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  11. Jesus

    Jesus left the building with Elvis (toe tag first ). So, he won't be helping with this, or any other election. However, for those afraid of the dark there is always a middleman to sell the fools and the sheep on religion.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  12. Rev

    Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

    November 4, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  13. Atheists for Jesus

    Keep your god out of my politics. We have more important issues like bringing our soliders home, educating our young folks and bringing jobs "BACK" to America... Right?

    November 4, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Hello

      and end our "forced on tax payers" WORLD welfare system. We need to stop sucking American Tax payers of their income and stop illegal immigration. We have too many freeloaders....both inside and outside our borders.
      Bring our industries back to the US where they are created.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  14. Earthling

    This is the year 2012. Basing your choices at the voting booth on fairy stories from 2,000 years ago is phenomenally ignorant. The sooner people wake up to reality and stop leaning on the foolishness of religion, the better off we will be as a species.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • Hello

      No 2 term politicians... give them 4 yrs and unless they can PROVE to make an improvement while in office, they are out. Vote the clown Romney in... in 4 yrs vote him out.. on and on until we get our problems solved... We need to do this every election for the next 100 yrs.... same with all other elected government jobs local, state and Federal .. one term only.. then your are out forever... `GONE... and forgotten. no more career tax money suckers in government..

      November 4, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • Christian

      If there is no God, then your life and all of the lives of everyone you care for are meaningless. Human life would have no more biological significance than a swarm of bees, and selfishness would be the preferred character trait. If there is no God, then there should have been no outrage at the victims of Sandy, the Holocaust, Benghazi, etc. After all, it's just survival of the fittest, right?

      I'm glad that I have the first-hand understanding that my life does have meaning, and that meaning comes from the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I pray that you will one day have that faith. Our moral compass comes stems from the fact that we are made in the image of a holy and loving God who gave his son to reconcile his creation (us) to himself for all eternity. Relative morality is a myth.

      Politics are important, and I am praying for whoever wins this election to lead our country in the right direction. No, I am not a right-wing evangelist, and yes, I am voting for Obama, although in Kentucky, my vote won't matter anyway.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • whitman30

      Christian- very well said.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Joe

      Outrage at the victims of Sandy? Lets see if god is real as you say then he (she / it) is responsible for sending a tropical hurricane into New York and the outrage should be toward your god. Otherwise its just violent act of nature.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Christian

      I believe you missed the point of my post, Joe. The fact that you are even outraged by the fact that people were affected by Sandy proves the existence of God in my opinion. If there was no God, then there would be no absolute morality. It's simple philosophical logic. To your second point, yes, I believe that God sent the storm. Why I don't know. I do not take the Pat Robertson stance that natural disasters are punishments from God, but who knows. We cannot even begin to understand God's reasons, but just because we don't understand them, it doesn't mean that those reasons don't exist. Suffering in this world existed for almost all of the disciples. Our pain in this world does not compare with the gifts that we will receive in the next.

      I encourage you to thumb through the Bible. It speaks extensively on the subject of pain and suffering and how to reconcile that with God.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Damocles

      @christian

      First of all, if it takes belief in a deity for you to have empathy for your fellow human, something is missing in your life. Secondly, I'm not going to travel very far down the old morality argument road, but I will say that morality would not exist for something believers claim is 'everything'. Thirdly, your stance that a deity sent the storm for a reason is the same stance that cavemen probably took when they saw lightning.

      My life does have meaning, I do not need the va-gue promises of some Happy Land to make me a good person. You can sell your life short and say it has no meaning without a deity, but that's on you.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • tf

      God is going to make the U.N destroy false religion rev 17,18.
      it says her rivers are drying out. meaning her influence on humans has fallen..

      the goverments are getting tired of the wars and confusion by false religion its end is coming very soon smh

      November 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  15. Td

    I only vote for wizards.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • Jaimie

      @Christian

      I thumbed thru your bible, here's some stuff I found:

      "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet." (1 Timothy 2:12)
      "Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses." (1 Samuel 15:3)
      "You shall not let a sorceress live." (Exodus 22:18)
      "Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." (Psalm 137:9)
      "Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. 'If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,' he said, 'whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the Lord. I shall offer him up as a holocaust.' ... When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, 'Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the Lord and I cannot retract'." (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)
      "Then God said: 'Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you'."(Genesis 22:2)
      "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22)
      "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse." (1 Peter 2:18)

      November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  16. REDFIRESTORM

    CNN BREAKING NEWS: A significant subtle shift in the composition of the voting electorate through the course of the past four years - undetected by the media and general public -was recently uncovered. This change will give Team Romney good cause to smile, and MSNBC to go into "Code Blue," on election night. Governor Romney and Paul Ryan both have the choice of staying home, sip on Mai Tai and just enjoy the show. CNN knows the change but will probably keep it a secret until the last minute. Hint: National 15% who voted early: R52 - D45. These are not predictions. POTUS approval rating (white): 38%. Good luck POTUS, and go to hell punk.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Earthling

      If Romney wins, you can kiss anything approaching financial security goodbye. Prepare to be poor for the rest of your life.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  17. realist512

    Why does this show up on a "news" site? Give me a break.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Dave1955

      It showed up on a something called "Belief Blog." Give ME a break.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      I find it fascinating that Jesus has followers when the guy never existed. So where do they go when they follow him? Around in circles?
      Did you know I can pull a rabbit out of a hat? Fricken miracle right there. I can walk on water too. Its called a puddle. Did you know that god sent hurricane sandy to punish all of the northeastern liberals? Thats the gods honest truth. Or maybe I did it... I don't remember, but I work for the guy. I'm the Managing Director of the Blame the Scapegoat Division, which is in Harrisburg, not far from Three-Mile Island. We have branches everywhere... and I ain't talkin' 'bout olive branches son.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • whitman30

      Justcallme Lucifer: Even if you do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah; he did exist. More people wrote about him and his miracles that didn't believe in him than did the people who believed in him from that period. There is too much secular evidence of his existence. BTW- I have 3 degrees and one is in history.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • AtheistInAFoxhole

      Whitman30, where did you get your degrees, Oral Roberts? Liberty U? There are NO eyewitness accounts of his existence. http://ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/item/13076-debunking-the-historical-jesus

      November 4, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • whitman30

      Atheist- no; however look into it – I challenge you too. Many Roman historians wrote about him, and they didn't believe. Again, you may disagree that he is God, but He did exist. Here are a few quotes:n 55 CE, the historian Thallus explained the darkness that fell midday when Jesus was crucified as an eclipse, not a miracle. Thallus’ original work is lost, but it survives through quotations by later historians.
      Shortly after 73 CE, Mara bar Serapion, a Stoic with little known background, wrote a letter to his son describing how the Jews had killed “their wise king.”
      In the 90s CE, the Jewish historian Josephus wrote his second major work, Antiquities of the Jews. In it, he described the death of the apostle James, “the brother of Jesus called Christ.”4 But consider what his book says before that:

      November 4, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  18. Wilhee

    There's only one God
    and apparently HIS initials are $$$

    November 4, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  19. Modern Times

    If Jesus ran for office today,there would be so much negative ads flying around, people wouldn't know what to think.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  20. SugarKube

    Why do we need Jesus. Doesn't Obama already walk on water?

    November 4, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      He also cured a ham and made a blind man deaf.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:30 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.