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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. Rika33

    Romney does not believe in Jesus like Christians do. You pay enough money to a senile Billy Graham's family you can get upgraded from cult

    November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  2. Insight

    Jesus was with the oppressed and weak so does Obama. Vote for Obama

    November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Milli

      Obama is for Obama and he has you fooled.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  3. Lisa

    Jesus said "my kingdom is no part of this world".

    November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MalcomR

      Timmy said "Mom, I peed my pants".

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • snowboarder

      lisa – not one supposed word of jesus was written down within decades of his fabled life, so any quote attributed to him highly unlikely.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Damocles

      Cat says 'Meow'.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  4. Hutterite

    While it would be nice to have an omnipotent leader as president, there'd still be a problem. God, as portrayed by the folks on tv claiming to represent him, always has a cash flow problem. He's got budgeting issues.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  5. Bob

    If there was a hell, I would hope that Jesus was burning in there right now for all of the pain and suffering he caused man.
    F
    u
    c
    k
    Jesus

    November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • JC

      Luis Wu i get it your choice in this election is between two Christians....must be why you are so hateful.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  6. Bryan

    My God...this is like basing you vote on a book of Greek mythology.....surely most of us have more brain power than this....

    November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Milli

      You're voting for Obama

      November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  7. jk

    The "unity of Christ"? Hilarious. The internal disputes among Christians as to what their own religion means in the most fundamental ways makes governmental politics look united. Even more hilarious is that the entire modern concept of "Christ" is a political invention hashed out in a church council a thousand years after Jesus died to settle even more disputes. Thanks to CNN's parade of goofy low-grade theologians, I am convinced that the definition of a religious leader is someone so deep in political disputes that they imagine themselves above them.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  8. kvarnold

    Well, I admire your sentiments. I am currently almost is ostrich mode myself and can't wait to see the election over. But, living in the world, and America, requires a stiff upper lip. If I could be sure Jesus, or anyone, would come down from heaven and run the country, maybe I would vote for him (her, don't forget the "her"). But since he/she won't I am going to the polls on Tuesday to fulfill one of my responsibilities as a citizen.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  9. DiamondDaveFL

    Believing in a higher power doesn't necessarily make you feeble minded. Sometimes belief helps humans to feel a sense of well being to have an answer to the question of existence. All of the hate and the malicious comments here makes me ill. Everyone should take a deep breath and think about the people you may offend before you post your comment.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  10. Steve

    Great article CNN! A couple of days from the election, we really need to focus on the amalgamation of church and state! It's not pathetic at all in 2012 that pandering to christians is still on the forefront of American politics.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • DiamondDaveFL

      Would you like an atheist in control of our nuclear arms. One who feels there is no consequence to the inhalation of mankind? Scary...

      November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Damocles

      @diamond

      Inhalation?? Really?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahhahhhahhhhaa! "Inhalation?" Really, it never ceases to amaze me, the depth of ignorance.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "One who feels there is no consequence to the inhalation of mankind? Scary"

      what a seriously bizarre argument (ignoring the use of the wrong word)
      As an atheist I can tell you that we recognise the consequence as being.......everyone dead!
      Thats actually a fairly strong argument against using the weapons

      November 4, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • DiamondDaveFL

      Okay, I let my iPad do the spelling for me. That still doesn't diminish the importance of my question. To all of the haters, answer the question or are you afraid to do so. In your face!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      In your own face, doofus. I don't want some nutbag fundy having access to WMDs, either.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • DiamondDaveFL

      Tom Tom, I bet you think your cool using WMDs. Name calling is your best argument. Grow up. Let the mature people have a debate and log off.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  11. visitor

    In the NYT yesterday: Mr. Romney already enjoys a commanding lead among white evangelical Protestant voters — 76 percent to 17 percent for President Obama, according to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey released on Monday,

    – Clearly, this is a religious monolithic voting bloc. Clearly, their religion is their politics and vise verse. And they say the REST of Americans worship government?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  12. craoli

    "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one come to the father accept through ME!" Jesus (John 14:21)

    November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Sane Person

      "I think thats crap." Me, at 10am. Difference is, I really exist.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • kvarnold

      So...where are all the souls who lived before Jesus was born? God cast them to hell for something they had no control over?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • NotHere

      kvarnold, don't forget, the Jews are the Chosen people, and they don't believe either.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "No one come to the father accept through ME!"

      actually i think that was a mistranslation from a more confrontational jesus. He actually said 'if you want to come to the father, you have to go through me first'

      November 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  13. Phil Jackson

    People who think this way have no business stepping into the voting both. Keep your religion to yourself!!!!!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • JC

      Make me! You of no faith, no god and no morals.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Now, JC, let us know when Phil or anyone else has succeeded in preventing you from voting or speaking. We'll know because you'll simply cease posting. As long as you're here, obviously your fear of being censored is absurd.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  14. hannah1

    Well, folks; on Tuesday I will be proclaiming my loyalty to Barack Obama, the Democrats, and Women's Rights! Amen!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • JC

      Too bad you don't care to extend any rights to unborn children.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Phil Jackson

      A featus isn't a child.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Too bad YOU don't care about the rights of women to choose, JC.

      Doesn't matter. The SCOTUS doesn't give you any say in the matter anyway.

      By the way, why aren't you in church?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  15. froSTed

    Silly fools, The Bill Of Rights prevents the passage of laws based on religious bias. Vote for Obama, Romney has no business in the White House.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Knuckles22

      Try as I may, I haven't seen improvement in Washington over the past four years and fail to see any likelihood another four years with Obama at the helm would yield any leadership which fosters inspiration in Congress to show compromise in solving the problems before us. For that reason alone, I will cast my ballot for Romney/Ryan and pray we are on more soilid ground as a society. After all, prayer has provided more results than hope through time.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  16. JC

    When you atheist say that the mere mention of Jesus in OFFENSIVE to you, you become offensive to me!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Luis Wu

      You are offensive. You're a troll.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When you're delusional and illiterate, JC, you're offended by everything. Get over it. Go find a hobby.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Troll police

      Move along troll

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • JC

      I an troll you are the ones attacking my religion on a religious article who are the trolls???

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      JC, why aren't you in church right now?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Buddy

      You all sound like idiots.....ready to fight each other.....yet there is not one ounce of intelligence in anything you write...

      Every reply is here is offensive to anyone that might have some interest in this story...

      Atheists should get a life....and find something to believe in

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Sane Person

      Atheists have something to believe in. Its called reality. Your failure to comprehend does not const.itute my lack of belief. You are the one basing your life on fantasy.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Buddy -You all sound like idiots.....ready to fight each other.....yet there is not one ounce of intelligence in anything you write..."

      so first you say that and then you end with.......

      "Atheists should get a life....and find something to believe in"

      so welcome fellow idiot.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  17. burghlady

    Yes...and let us remember that Jesus never spoke of revenge. If you have wealth, be encouraged to give. If you have time, be encouraged to help. You do not need the likes of this current President to dictate how much of either.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • good one

      His dad did a LOT of vengeful smiting.But I guess that's OK.BTW,you might want to google Obama's entire revenge quote,rather than listening to another one of Willard's un-truths.He was actually being quite fair to Romney.The GOP are a gang of crooks.But I guess that's OK too.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  18. RamboJohnJ

    Dinosaurs..

    November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • j

      God made dinosaurs

      November 4, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Sane Person

      Guess I missed that chapter in the bible. Was that before the talking snake or after the flood that killed all of mankind in a divine temper tantrum?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  19. MMiller

    Religion should have NOTHING to do with our elections. Candidates shouldn't even be able to talk about it. Disgraceful!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  20. Woody

    So many christians don't even know Jesus if he was was born on the continent of Asia at Asia minor . How can you be a christian if you don't even know that ! And by the way most nativity scenes and bibles are now being produced by athiest in China . And if the Republicans get there president we will be a Mormon nation . Mormons are not considered Christians . And many Christians don't know that too !

    November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • snowboarder

      woody – a mormon president doesn't make us any more of a mormon nation than a christian president made us a christian nation. what nonsense.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Knuckles22

      Having a Socialist president hasn't made us a Socialist nation..., yet. Four more years of Obama might very well break a great nation and create his change that will take decades to correct. If Americans that support Obama would like to continue on his course of change would like to expedite that change, might I suggest you pack up and move to Sweden today. Although, that may be too difficult considering you can't even afford the cab fare to the airport in this economy.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't have a clue as to what const itutes Socialism.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:29 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.