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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.

How the White House changed Barack Obama’s faith

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.

The making of a candidate: Mitt Romney’s faith journey

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 • My Take • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. jig-a-booozin

    We be jiga-booozin!! Let's hug-a-jig-a-booz-a-daily!! Dey be people too!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jorge

      WOW, idiocy=bigotry=idiocy=bigotry=...

      November 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  2. Barack

    Jiggga! Wiggga! Neeggga! Can't we all just get-a-bong???

    November 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  3. Barack

    I be a jig-a-boooz! I be a nigg-a-boooz! I be a cooon-a-boooz! Come on over and party down!!

    November 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  4. Pastor Steven Andrew

    Neither Obama or Romney are from God.

    I made this video to teach what the Bible says.

    http://www.usachristianministries.com/2012/11/05/pastor-steven-andrew-gives-gods-priorities-for-the-usa-asks-billy-graham-to-repent/

    In Christ.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nii

      As a fellow Pastor, my question is this? Why is it that fellow Ministers like yourself feel it necessary to openly advocate one candidate above the other forgetting that this splits the church along one more line as if it is not fragmented enough. As spiritual and religious leaders we are to focus on our members needs rather than promoting a secularist government as the solution to those true needs of love, joy and tolerance.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  5. Jeannette, USA via Toronto

    Wow! what a bull story and statement. Jesus was not born in America and can not produce a birth certificate. Jesus was a Rabbi and Jew. Jesus was a lover not hater. Jesus was a hippy and was not a materialistic individual. Jesus wore a dress (?) Jesus was a man!

    November 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

    "In Greed We Trust"

    In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

    For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    A couple of examples (it's pretty easy to find more):

    Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

    Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant (Southern Illinois) so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

    Also, this is disconcerting:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/mitt-romney-implicated-perjury-and-stock-fraud-made-millions-process
    http://globalgrind.com/news/mitt-romney-lied-perjury-under-oath-divorce-court-case-tom-stemberg-details

    BAIN'S INVESTOR "SUCCESSES" WERE PRIMARILY CONTINGENT ON MASS LAY-OFFS OF WORKERS

    November 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Barack

      That is the role of venture capitalists Rummy. They make sunk capital more efficient. They improve profitability and maximize Return on Equity. Plebians who have no understanding of economics cry foul, but the truth is, that`s what makes our markets work, that`s what incentivizes investors to invest, and that is ultimately what creates new jobs. If you don`t like it, then join the Communist Party, or just vote for The Communist in Chief and accept his socialist dead end plan for America. I choose Capitalism and growth.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • BRC

      @Barack,
      I guess you're sort of half not wrong, maybe? THat's not venture capitalism. Venture capitalism is directly funding the stand-up of NEW business, technologies, and servicess, TRULY investing your money in a project with the possibility of great growth and potential. Venture capitalists, on the large and small scale, are a HUGE part of this country's financial sucess, and at a time aprt of what made us great. "Investing" nowadays doesn't do anything useful for the economy, and certainly doesn't produce jobs. Putting money into the stock market to by "shares" of a company that you will later sell for more imaginary money to by "shares" of another company does not produce jobs, and doesn't benefit those that are trying to start up businesses. It creates money from nothing, and rewards people with standing capitol more money for doing nothing, it has to be a substantial contributor to inflation (because there is "more money" available, even if it isn't real), and in my opinion is one of the things that is killing us financially.

      So to review, venture capitalism is good, VERY good, but the actions BAIN took are NOT venture capitalism (though I will reserve judgement as to whether what they did was good or bad).

      November 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • TC

      But, of course you cannot run a country the same way. That's the issue here.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You see, that's what's wrong with Republican party, and that's what's wrong with American unrestrained, unregulated ultra-capitalism, which they promote, endorse and support, calling it good and just! That's why anyone who says he/she is a Christian better and endorses, and supports them, better watch that they don't find themselves on the wrong side of God!

      November 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  7. Barack

    Don`t you worship the Chocolatey Jesus ? Won`t you wear my Yoke ? Won`t you join me in bashing The Pope ? Don`t you like my tie and my teleprompter skills ? Why not ? Discuss.

    November 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Dippy

      Please, no floating question marks. Looks stupid.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Barack

      Dippy: You can be my Holy Proof Reader Czar. You would like a government job, wouldn`t you ? Oh good.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Reality

    Pledging my loyality to rational thinking:

    Only for the new members of this blog-

    Putting the kibosh on all religions:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    November 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Pam

    Me? I will be voting!
    This guy sounds like a Jehohah Witness : "God will make sure the right man gets elected".
    If Romney wins, does that mean the Devil voted too ???
    (we all know Romney is NO Christian!)

    November 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Zebula

      This fool has never heard of the separation of church and state apparently. Shameful.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Dave Shoobridge

      I guess you didn't read the article or know that separation of church and state is a Mennonite idea and came from them. It was thyem and the Baptists that work to make this part of our law.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Judas is my homeboy

    I claim to be religious but I also telling trolls to off themselves...I need to ask the lord to forgive my sins...that was not a very Christian thing to do...I also need to ask forgiveness cuz I have been schlobin da knob. Them mushroom heads is soooo delicious...I can't help myself. Dat salty spooo is so hard to give up!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • CA Liberal

      So you are a gay Christian. Any gay who votes GOP is voting for his own extinction you know. It's like a Jew voting Nazi.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Steve

    Anyone who would vote for a non Christian is not a real Christian at all. Rommney what a joke. Is this really the best the Reublicans have to offer. No wonder they split.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  12. Nate Higgers

    Jeeeg-a-boooz!! Jeeeg-a-boooz! I be coming for you!! Da cooons be runnin scared...the lynch mob be gainin ground...time to run...but you can't hide!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Come to my house please,locked and loaded. I'll even leave the light on for you

      November 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jorge

      Nate, the deepest, most pitiful implications of the phrase h-i-l-l-b-i-l-l-y d-o-r-k don't begin to describe the image you portray...

      November 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  13. alumette

    idiots are not in shortage unfortunately.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  14. Patchygroundfog

    If I was a Christian somehow misguided enough to back Mitt Romney's soulless dishonesty and twisted social values, I would need to take communion right after voting so I could ask Jesus to forgive me for screwing America. I would also need to take a long hot shower ...

    November 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      One does not take communion to seek forgiveness.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  15. mama k

    Some posters continue to state that the U.S. is a Christian nation. NOT TRUE. Do you know why? Around the time of the founding, different Christian sects were fighting with each other in various states. Quakers were being hung in Massachusetts; Anglicans were persecuting Baptists in Virginia and elsewhere. The key founders were truly angry over this situation, and very upset – even with members of their own religion. So they made it a top priority to establish guidelines for the separation of church and state (and to make it Amendment #1 to our Constitution). This is also reflected in what they had to say on the matter:

    James Madison (our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

    and then ten years later:

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795)

    Thomas Jefferson (our 3rd President, was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    (Letter (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808))

    and then of course we have clarifying moments in history such as:

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    ==================================

    DID YOU KNOW?

    During his presidency, James Madison vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom**. Starting from their anger over feuding Christian sects in their home state, until the end of their lives, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were fervent promoters of the separation of church and state.

    Who was James Madison? He was the 4th President of the United States and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution.

    ** Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  16. Bob

    I am a Catholic, and I like the cut of this author's jib. If we are going to stand for life, love, and compassion, our worship of Jesus and our personal, familial, and communal commitment to prayer and service of our fellow man means much more than anything done in the arena of politics, where both parties are working against the greater good in significant ways. I am going to try to get to daily Mass tomorrow.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bob,

      I never saw the sense in daily mass until I started going. What used to seem at worse a kind of monotonous drag or at best an indulgent luxury when I only considered going has become a vibrant feast and source of strength and wisdom in practice.

      Peace be with you my friend

      November 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bob

      Peace be with you as well! I find that praying the rosary and daily Mass are 2 things that I do sometimes but not enough that always help me toward a peaceful heart.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Let Freedom Ring

    Despite what Obama says, America is still a Christian nation. The atheist terrorists have tried to hijack it, with their twisted understanding of separation of church and state. The original meaning was that the state had no say in what the church did.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      The only way to let freedom ring is to keep your stupid religion out our way!

      November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Nii

      Let Freedom Ring
      Unfortunately Fundamentalist Literalist Evangelicals like yourself are turning people into Atheists very fast.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • KeyWester

      It's very simple, keep WHATEVER entiry that you worship out of the governing of this country.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      Atheist terrorist? Do you have any examples?

      November 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • mama k

      The U.S. is NOT a Christian nation. Looks like I have to make my big post again to remind people.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • TC

      This is a nation with many Christians in it, but it is not a "christian nation". It belongs to all Americans, religious or otherwise.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Darw1n

      Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion.

      You want theocracy? Move to Iran

      November 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • mama k

      "Let Freedom Ring" is WRONG. The separation of church and state is easily understood by listening to the words of our key founders like Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution (see my large post above).

      The 1st Amendment to the Constitution with its Establishment Clause, not only provide for freedom of religion, but with regard to religious involvement with government, also provides for freedom from religion. An example of where the latter has been applied was in 1963, where the Supreme Court rules that mandated Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional. Also, with regard this this, please note James Madison's thoughts (Library of Congress ref.) that I posted at the end of the large post above.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • ME II

      I've never heard of a one-way wall. In order to keep the government out of church, you must also keep the church out of government; else the church will become the government.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  18. Maria

    There's only one God! Religion in all religions = One God!

    November 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Let Freedom Ring

      Sadly this is not true. Atheists have their religion where they worship science, some people worship the sky, rocks, and wood, and animals, some worship the one true God. All separate things...

      November 5, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Judas is my homeboy

      See photos of Maria's god at saladandchips.com

      November 5, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Lack of Freedom

      You do not know what you're talking about moron.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  19. Woody

    "My Take: On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus" – Mark Schloneger

    Better, as a good American, you should proclaim your loyalty to the US Consti.tution, and keep religion out of our government, as our Founding Fathers intended.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • VanHagar

      Actually, they meant to keep government out of religion...not religion out of government.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Van

      Actually they meant both.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  20. CHERRYPIEGUY

    christians are the al-queda of the western world.....just because they believe in storybook fantasies doesn't mean they have the right to put their theocracy into our laws which are based on the rights of man, not the rights given by some infantile deity...don't these american christians understand that the book they worship was written by the same camel jockeys from the middle east that are now killing innocent women and children and deny women participation in any form of life except childbearing.....wake up weak minded christians.....we are in charge of our own destiny as a race of humans...not the prodigy of some ghost from outer space

    November 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • What

      Agreed 100%

      November 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Nii

      Atheists
      I don't want to believe any of you support FARC or the Tupac Amaru. This is plainn silly. Were you all cheering Pol Pot too? Also it is very stupid of you to try to make Arabs out as backward when they kept civilization going when your people were in the Dark Ages after your backward ancestors destroyed the Roman Empire. Read history. Algebra is an Arabic word. Don't ever despise people. Respect all then your wisdom will show.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Steve

      People love to talk like this, but the fact is, we are only a few decades removed from a time when most Americans were christian. The center of most every town in this county is a church. Insult the people who built this country all you want, the people who made it a free country, but without the christian influence in this country it would most likely be a tyranny. The direction things are going, it soon will be.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Darw1n

      WORD

      November 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bob

      CHERRYPIEGUY, only atheists are in charge of their own destiny, and they only get to be in charge because they choose a short life and a permanent death. For the rest of us, God is in charge of our destiny and we just work as hard as we can and pray His will be done.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Huebert

      Bob

      I would rather live one life time as a free man than spend eternity as a slave.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Bob

      If that is what you want, then you will get your wish. The only problem is, it's possible that a life of freedom is necessarily followed by not a peaceful nonexistence, but an eternity of torment instead. The best case scenario for an atheist is to live a short life of freedom and then die forever, the worst case is to live a short life of freedom and spend a horrifying eternity of suffering. The best case for a Christian is to live a short life of sacrifice for God and man and spend an eternity of pleasure with God, the worst case is a short life of sacricie for God and man and then die forever.

      As long as everyone is happy with their options, there's nothing to argue about. :)

      November 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • ME II

      @Nii,
      How does stating who were the intellectuals 800 years ago, build a case against being "backwards"?

      November 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Steve

      50 years is hardly 800 years.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • Nii

      ME II
      What are you talking about? Until America invaded Ir.aq in the first Gulf War could you call it backward in any way? There are poor Middle Eastern countries and there are very rich ones. So if you use the worst of them to tar them all are you not being wholly unfair and disrespectful. The fact that Mexico, Albania, Montene.gro, Yes even Slovenia are white countries does not make the US and Germany backward, does it? Likewise Saudis, Kuwaitis and Emiratees do not deserve their being called backwards because of someone else's misdeeds.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:27 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.