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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. Proud-EX-republican

    Jesus has NO place in government. As a Catholic I am disgusted. That so many "give it up to God" yet they help LIE, SCAM, purposfully try to scare, force THEIR faith on others and claim to be "pro-life" BUT once these children are born, THEY cry about families needing help or kids DESERViNG. Food, sheltert and an education. God gives us ALL FREE WILL. Kow what that is? The responsibility to think for oneself and to do what is right for you, you family AND your community. NOT to force your way on others at any cost. Or to LIE, CHEAT and STEAL then say you re a person of "faith". Yea, faith in your oen selfishness and apathy for others. So KEEP ALL religion OUT of politics. I'm sick and tired of my religion being hijacked by lying polticians trying to dictate to me how to live – and pray!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Harrison

      Amen.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  2. 24HCC

    Science hopes to find truth. It may take many hundreds of generations if it can be done at all. But there is truth out there. And if it is a god, so be it. It matters not to me as it has no effect on my life. I am just curious. I wish I could know in my lifetime.

    I think what is obvious is the Judeo Christian god is an old myth. Whatever force is out there is certainly not the anamorphic super being from a man-made book of stories.

    I imagine a multi-verse where scale is completely relative. The very fabric of reality could very well be spongy and wiggly and invisible to us. It is also likely that the big bang that created this universe was fueled by explainable forces “behind” what we can perceive and is probably common place.

    One thing is for sure. We don’t know much. But it is fun finding out what we can in the short time we have. And I know this, if it exists, it is not supernatural. Following that logic, nothing can be supernatural, because if it exists, it is natural.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Richard Aberdeen

      Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I AM". This rationally explains the observable universal reality. Your response doesn't rationally explain anything and, it presupposes that "natural" and "supernatural" are two different things, when in fact these are mere words invented by human beings. Whether or not you call God natural or supernational, the I AM God of the Bible rational explains our existence, while neither science or any other god does. Grow up and stop pretending that words define reality, as if calling something "natural" somehow proves it isn't created.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  3. Mary Davis

    JESUS would have created peace around the world and eliminated the national debt at the same time.
    JESUS would rid the world of all evil and there would be no hunger anywhere in this world. There would be
    no more poverty and there would be jobs for anyone who wants to work. Let's admit it, JESUS is the only
    REAL candidate that could and would make our nation a BETTER place to raise our families in. OBAMA?
    Not so much.........................................................if..........................................................at all.
    For my family............YES, we do believe in the power of JESUS.
    REALISTICALLY.....................................I simply cannot believe in or vote for anyone who does not believe
    in GOD and the principles that he created for we, human beings to live by.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • 24HCC

      @Mary Davis

      I am confused, you made an excellent case against the existence of Jesus/God, then said you are a Christian. Huh?

      November 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Tyler

      Ok, well then let's get Jesus to come down here and run for president. Why is he wasting all of our time hanging out up there with god and the angels?

      November 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Genold

      So where is Jesus now? With millions starving and hundreds of wars and conflicts worldwide, where is Jesus? Oh that's right, Jesus only appears to those who think they can actually eat a rock sandwich.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  4. JPX

    Voting for imaginary people is a sign of mental illness. Good luck with that.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  5. 24HCC

    When you look at different religions, they contain "magic." For example:

    • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

    • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

    • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example, the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    Any Christian voting for the cultist Romney is a Republican first and a Christian second. Sacrilege!!!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Harrison

      These so called " Christians" seem to be perfectly willing to ignore the teaching of thier own Theology and risk quite sever consequences. It is a spectacle .

      November 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Mike

    C'mon all you snarky atheists, I don't feel the hate flowing like it usually does! Unleash the fury! Feel the hate flow through your veins and all that negative energy surge through your fingertips to your keyboard. It won't fill the hole in your soul, but at least you can try and vex someone else's!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Michael

      Why would I hate people who believe in a magician who magic'd the world into existence? I pity you for your lack of intelligence.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Mike

      Weak Michael, try again...

      November 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Michael

      Oh try again? Couple thousand years go by and there is 0 evidence for all of these supposed magical things in your book of magic? How about you try again.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Genold

      We could never hate with the cruel destructiveness of Christians. Behold the religion that brought you the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the past and current habit of burning alive those who don't believe. Now that is real hate for you and you are part of it Christian.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mike

      Genold – Atheism brought you the holocaust by the way (see eugenics).

      PS God tells you that murder is wrong, otherwise, who's to say? You have no moral authority whatsoever. Often, man makes war and uses God as the excuse. That doesn't make God the enemy, but rather man, in whom you put so much faith.

      PPS You guys don't appear to be the usual purveyors of hostilities, so no offence here. The regular crowd must be taking the day off.

      November 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Mike

      Morality is very easy to do without appealing to any magic sky wizard: do the action that causes the least harm.

      As to god's morality, it's subjective and "might makes right." Why does god get to command the death and torture of his enemies while he commands that you love yours and treat them as friends? Because, you say, he's god and right by definition, even when he changes his definition of "good" from one era to the next.

      November 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  8. Michael

    My vote is for Krishna the Hindu God. -If you think that sounds stupid, maybe you should take a long hard look in the mirror.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      What's the name of the female Hindu deity with all the arms? She'd be a wonderful bride for washington. Fingers and arms into EVERYTHING! See, all the atheists didn't think they had a god! You built it, you own it.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  9. 24HCC

    The Anamorphic Judeo-Christian god of the bible does not exist.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Now you tell me, god. Where have you been all my life?

      November 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Sifleut

    Bishop Mitt believes he's the savior of the free world and is the only reason he's running for President and that's pretty darn scary.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  11. Tyler

    Keep this silly nonsense on mythology in Fox News. Mythological cults have no place in government and should not have a place at all in the public sphere.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • dave

      You do know that many people have a concept of god that goes deeper than the literal 'guy with a white beard floating in the sky' idea, right?

      November 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Tyler

      Sure, an imaginary friend can be anything you want it to be.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  12. Hindu Mithra Ism etc.

    Closing window to awful sounds of crying babies Barking dogs ism, ambulance noise pollution ism, Nobody cares neighbor ism, open windows, crying babies emergency noise ism Damn fire trucks sirens louder ism in to neighbor one else on front of his main street, at last holidays fire trucks looked at HOME OFFICE and wailed and same was answered by HOME OFFICE, Damn fire trucks spewing water on ash, Damn fire trucks turned in to HOME OFFICE, and HOME OFFICE turned in to Damn fire trucks, ONE ON corner WAS NOT DAMN FIRE TRUCKS BUT HOME OFFICE, EVERY crying babies, puppy follower of crying babies Barking dogs ism, ambulance noise pollution ism making noises to as his Barking dogs, ambulance noise pollution man dog. Visit TurnOffTheNoise.com to learn crying babies-ism, denial of noixe absolute chaos, by crying babies noise ism.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Is Mormonism Christian?" is a very important question. The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian.

    The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God in all existence, Jesus is divine, God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:1-5), and Jesus rose from the dead physically (1 John 2:19; Luke 24:39), the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, 1 Cor. 15:1-4), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the God of Christianity, and His work of salvation.

    Mormonism teaches

    Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is God in flesh, it teaches that he is "a" god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is (see also, false trinity)

    Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian – in spite of all his claims that he is Christian. Quite simply, the Mormon god doesn't exist.

    Mormonism teaches

    Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. Second was Satan, and then we all followed. But, the Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5), that God has been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) – which means he was never a man on another planet. Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected. The Bible tells us that Jesus – The Jesus of Mormonism – is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn't exist.

    Mormonism teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross itself (and receiving it by faith) is not sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins. It teaches that the forgiveness of sins is obtained though a cooperative effort with God; that is, we must be good and follow the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church in order to obtain forgiveness. Consider James Talmage, a very important Mormon figure who said, "The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil," (Articles, p. 432), and "Hence the justice of the scriptural doctrine that salvation comes to the individual only through obedience," (Articles, p. 81). This clearly contradicts the biblical doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) and the doctrine that works are not part of our salvation but a result of them (Rom. 4:5, James 2:14-18).

    To further confuse the matter, Mormonism further states that salvation is twofold. It maintains that salvation is both forgiveness of sins and universal resurrection. So when a Mormon speaks of salvation by grace, he is usually referring to universal resurrection. But the Bible speaks of salvation as the forgiveness of sins, not simple universal resurrection. Where Mormonism states that forgiveness of sins is not by faith alone, the Bible does teache it is by faith alone. Which is correct? Obviously, it is the Bible.

    Mormonism and the Bible

    In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn't trustworthy.

    The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called The Inspired Version, though it is not used by the LDS church. Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not. They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself. For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8), they interpret it to mean "no other gods of this world" – which is not what those verses say. They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

    Conclusion

    Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

    No-one denies that Mormons are good people, that they worship "a" god, that they share common words with Christians, that they help their people, and that they do many good things. But that isn't what makes someone Christian. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (NKJV). Becoming a Christian does not mean belonging to a church, doing good things, or simply believing in God. Being a Christian means that you have trusted in the true God for salvation, in the True Jesus – not the brother of the devil, not the god of Mormonism, not the gospel of Mormonism. Mormonism is false and cannot save anyone.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Don't Drive Angry

      Christians are not Mormons. They believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one separate god. They are monotheists who do not believe in three separate gods. They do not believe that the Father, God, is an exalted man and has a physical body. They believe that the Bible is inerrant, and that salvation comes through faith alone.

      I am REALLY sick of all you Christians jumping on the Mormon bandwagon!

      November 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Mormonism mocks Christianity. There is NO justification for a true Christian to vote for a man who believes this cult.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Harrison

      Mormonism is such an incredible load of #&^%, that it is astonishing Romney has come this far without America going What the WHAT???? Of course many of these same people were not able to see that G WMD.B was wasy too dumb to be the leader of the free world.

      November 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  14. Sifleut

    One of my many reason that I voted for Obama is that my taxes will not go towards faith based initiatives.
    Religion must go, we need to evolve, let's believe in ourselves!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Evolutionism is the gubmint approved religion. They have missionaries and are even targeting 1st graders.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    Any Christian who votes for a Mormon cultist is spitting on the Bible.

    Any Christian who votes for a Mormon cultist will answer to the one true God on judgement day!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  16. 24HCC

    Are there two "Decisions Decisions" posting at the same time?

    One is calling atheists bigots, and the other is bashing gays. Confusing.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Free thinker

    Looking down on political power plays and its hate and fearmongering is really interesting.

    But you're right, religion is pure and never was interested in power or manipulating anyone with fear or hate.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • dave

      True. Many people have forgotten this.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  18. Willyboy

    This is just stupid, people. Please keep your Jeebus out of my government, m'kay? It has no place there. Never has, never will. Our Founding Fathers were very wise to make certain that religion – including your Jeebus – is to have absolutely no role whatsoever in our nation's government or governance. So take your sky daddy and huddle up at home or in church but stay away from our government.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Decisions Decisions

      Nah, we like his influence there...

      November 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Decisions Decisions

      And by we, I mean ignorant intolerable hate filled bigots who think about ourselves only

      November 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Christians are the temple of God. The only way to keep them out is by law or kill em. Hey dude, seize their assets while you're at it. It's been done before with other groups. Pay off the debt. Put em in factories and when they're too weak to work anymore, just gas em.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Willyboy

      Anybody know how to read?: I like your suggestions, but I think it better to just eliminate the tax exemptions for all churches / religions. Tax them like the major corporations they are. For all the damages they do to society, I'd want to make it retroactive to 1960.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      What happened in Germany was just a dry practice run for what's gonna happen here and around the world to 'GET' the real Jews, the Christians.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  19. Tyler

    No, Harry Potter is our savior! Vote Harry Potter!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  20. tspokc

    Envy. One of the seven deadly sins. Why is it one of the seven? Because it IS destruction. Just who is it that has willfully designed the method, to willfully create the class warfare, to willfully foment the deadly destructive sin of envy? He has fomented this sin among millions, and dares to label himself as a Chr is ti an, leading those millions to believe that this could be true. One who foments the sin of envy among millions a Chr is ti an? 0bama a Chr is ti an? Only intoxicated to blindness from the obessive-compulsive drinking of the komrad koolaid snake oil could result in such folly. Only the genetically mutant mind could reach such an asinine conclusion. Such people would return this destruction to the oval office.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
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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.