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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. JonathanL

    You vote should not be determined by the church, nor even by faith reasoning. You should vote using common sense and logical reasoning. You don't have to like politics, or the politician. Base it on what you think the politician and his or her party is going to do, and how they will do it, and to what degree they can be trusted to do the things they say they will do.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  2. brian

    if you wanna vote for Jesus then go to the Vatican.... in the meanwhile, we're trying to run a country here... And ps, I got to church. You're not electing the Pope.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • leslee

      The pope doesn't have anything to do with Jesus. The pope is the biggest antichrist on the planet!

      November 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Jim

      PSS – The author and the article is not calling for an "elect Jesus" campaign...

      November 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  3. Tony

    Good reminder to all so-called christians. Our first loyalty should be to GOD and his principles. Communion is a great reminder to us all for what our LORD and savior Jesus Christ died for. We must let Christ be seen in us so that others will want what we have and subseqently allow for changed hearts that will affect decision making in every aspect of life including politics.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • akatwebit

      Great reminder? Maybe. But those who are saying that we should not combine faith and politics here are absolutely right. We are a nation under 'separation of church and state'.
      Further as a devout Christian, I cannot for the life of me understand the Christians (including the Roman Catholics) who think that Romney's faith is so important. First, Mormon's are not considered Christians. Second, Romney is out right lying when he says he goes to church, he goes to a 'stake'. Third, the next time you pass a Mormon 'stake' you will not see the cross of Christ who died for our sins, because they don't recognize that as part of their theology, have little allowance for Mary, consider Christ as among 'other later day saints' and foremost do not have communion. I'm an M-Div and have studied this, and I lived next to a Mormon 'bishop' for years. So if you are, and I don't agree with you if you are, thinking that Romney is your guy because of his Christian values, morals, etc. Do yourself a favor before Tuesday and try to figure out why the Bible and the Book of Mormon are on the same level in the Mormon theology – As a Christian the word of Christ is the truth – I shutter to think of the influence a Mormon in the White House might have on those who don't understand true Christianity. People went ballistic when Kennedy the Catholic ran, but at least that was Christianity. Before you go hog wild on riding the great 'Christian' theme – take 10 minutes before you vote and do your research – you'll also find that at one point the Book of Mormon was revised to exclude negative comments about the 'dark race' – As far as I know and am concerned the New Testament is the only true word of God and as such his son Jesus Christ, and the names were never "changed" to the truth to something more likeable to the public. Get off of it Mitt – stop calling it church, focus on what is at stake the future of the greatest nation on earth.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  4. us_1776

    If you look at the trend lines since Oct 22 on 538 you see that Obama has steadily been gaining and today up again.

    Obama widened his lead now up at 306 electoral votes Romney dropped to 231

    Even RealClearPol with No Tossup States has Obama up at 290 with Romney dropping to 248.

    2 days left and Obama trending up with a big lead already. You do the math.

    .

    November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  5. Sane Person

    My vote is for Neptune.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  6. u

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    Get over it.

    .

    November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • truth be told

      u are temporary, God is eternal. Guess who i'll be believing.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • sam stone

      tbt: believe who you want. you are a diseased gash

      November 4, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • OpposingView

      U... There is zero proof the Big Bang occurred. All they have is a theory. So why do you believe in it?...

      November 4, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • OpposingView

      Sam Stone... What's with all the hate?...

      November 4, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  7. Joseph L Cooke

    Remember, it was the dems who voted three times to deny God at their national convention.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • truth be told

      Peter denied Jesus three times and became leader of the Church.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • UncleM

      Because religious delusion has no place in government.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Jim

      tbt,

      But Peter reprented, the Democrat conventioneers still don't want God in the platform and booed when God was included by being foisted upon them.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  8. OpposingView

    Amen. It is a rare thing to see someone standing up for God and standing up for Jesus, so keep up the good work, even though the unbelievers of the world will hate you for it. And do not be discouraged by the haters and the scoffers, for thy reward is in heaven…

    1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    2 Peter 3:5 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?...

    November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  9. NotHere

    "Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

    Romney, God called and said you're a 47%er

    November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  10. leslee

    As a Christian, I believe in the separation of church and state.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  11. John M

    Didn't Jesus say something to to the effect of: "Give to Caesar is due to Caesar, and give to God what is due to God"? It does not say "Give to Caesar what God wants you to give to Caesar."

    This notion of 'voting Christian' dates back no more than three decades. Values-voter issues have less to do with God's will than the political views of church leaders, supported by cherry-picked Scripture passages.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Jim

      What does your post supposed to mean anyway?

      God's portion (according to both the New and Old Testaments) is the first portion of your increase. Caesar's portion comes after God's portion.

      As for values voting being only three decades old.... that is naive and uninformed. People in the US have a long track record of values voting including the temperance movement, women's suffrage, civil rights, outlawing child labor, etc.

      Just because there was no official "values voting" organization doesn't mean it didn't exist. Having a basic understanding of US history makes it clear that values voting has been here since the beginning in one way shape or form.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  12. ME

    Did I read that article correctly???
    Throw all of the Spirits in the River!!!???
    OK
    Turn to page 538 and let us sing 'SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER?"

    November 4, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  13. Pavloosh

    The intolerance expressed by the comments here are so disheartening. Am proud of America but ashamed of the Americans who spew such hate.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • jp

      Keep all religious beliefs to yourself and your deity whoever and whatever you think that is. Religion has NO place in goverment, politics or science as it is a cult belief in the unbelievable. It also has NO place on a NEWS website like CNN as it is NOT news and CERTAIN:Y NOT the truth (religion being a packaged set of lies to start with)

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

      Pavloosh,

      I'm with you, it is sad for sure.

      jp, thanks for clearly making Pavloosh's point about intolerance. You epitomize worst of America.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • OpposingView

      jp… And you can keep all of your evil thoughts and evil opinions to yourself as well. This is a religious-based article, so what are you doing here? If you don't want to hear it then go somewhere else…

      November 4, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Zeb

      No @jp, no intolerance here except from the so-called Christians who insist that the country embrace "God", even though this idea of God in politics was introduced in the 1950s. Respect the fact that keeping religion out of government has been what made this country great. When you respect my right to *NOT* mix religion with government and politics, then we'll have all the tolerance you need, especially the tolerance we need from the religious right.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Zeb

      Sorry, @jp, meant to direct this @Jim, not you!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  14. Jim W., Statesville, NC

    I guess the 'so called' Christian Right will be voting for the money changers this election. How appropriate they would fall for all the lies and hype of the GOP's leash owners when Jesus' only show of anger was when tipped over their tables and ran them out of the temple.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • BKNY

      Sin City? You're a moron. Go take your bible and stick it up your butt...Better yet, stick it up your savior's butt.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  15. ELong

    For all of you non-believers: Did it ever occur to you that Sandy flooded the sin city of the east coast? Sodom and Gamora anyone? Las Vegas could be next. Just saying.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • truth be told

      When Vegas floods I may be worried.

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

      That is just so much bullsnot

      November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Sane Person

      And another idiot blames natural disasters on thier loving, forgiving god who wants to kill people.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • just_a_moderate

      Then why do red states get pounded so hard every year with tornados? Do you think God is angry at then good using his name in vain for political reasons?

      Uh oh...you could be next...just saying...

      November 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • greenaxe

      You are feeble minded.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • dinkusmcgee

      Since I do not believe that Jesus was the "son" of God but am mor Judaic in my beliefs that Jesus was merely a good rabbi that taught of an ALMIGHTY GOD over all of us...I do believe that this Almighty one is not happy with what is going on down here now and we are experiencing his wrath with all of what has happened to us since the turn of this new milennium. I beleve that we are in store for forces greater than in the near future, if we do not get the act together down here better, and we need to get it better VERY SOON!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Damocles

      @E

      Funny stuff. Is this your whole comedy act or do you have more?

      November 4, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • SensibleJoe

      Learn how to spell Gomorrah (not "Gamora") before citing it. And if you read the Bible, you'll find that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah isn't quite what you think. Here's what it says: "This was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy" (Ezekiel 16:49). In other words, the rich and the overfed were arrogant and wouldn't help the poor - which is GOP policy for America today.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Zeb

      @ELong's God is forgiving and loving only to those that march in lock-step with his point of view - isn't that fascism?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • sam stone

      Get off your knees and stop being such a snivelling toady. Just sayin'

      November 4, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  16. dinkusmcgee

    A vot for Jesus is a vote for Romney (under the guise of Jesus) as Hussein Obama is a Muzlim.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • jp

      moron

      November 4, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • dinkusmcgee

      misspelled word above: meant to spell it "vote".

      November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • truth be told

      A vote for Romney is a vote for an anti- Christ

      November 4, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • leslee

      Thank you jp. You took the word right out of my mouth.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Charles

      Do you believe you were born an idiot or do you think it developed over time?

      November 4, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Harrison

      Mormons reject the Holy Trinity! Don't be a fool!

      November 4, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • cynthia hicks

      I'm voting for the Cthulhu / Hastur ticket... I'm tired of the lesser of 2 evils!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Zeb

      Yawn! Another moron.... Didn't you guys hate Romney because he's a Mormon? And now he's your savior? Must be pretty galling to have to stoop so low.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  17. NotHere

    "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..."

    From Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli 1797. Unanimously ratified by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams

    November 4, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Jim

      And Jefferson also (along with the Legislative Branch) gave funds to a Roman Catholic mission to build a church and Bibles.

      So, obviously the seperation spoken of is quite different from the one you like to peddle.

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

      Gave funds? Ooh that just changes everything...

      November 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  18. kaplink

    With preachers telling their congregations how to vote, and politicians invoking God and Jesus in every breath, how can you tell the difference?

    This is what happens when the wall between church and state dissolves. Religion becomes just another ideology, susceptible to the same extremes, and deserving no greater respect, than any other ideology.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  19. Joe

    Belief Blogs should be next to the Horoscope, Area 51, and Sasquatch Blogs

    November 4, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • OpposingView

      And that is precisely why all "non-religious" and "unbelief" blogs are filled with murder, destruction, and mayhem. It's because all unbelief is sin...

      November 4, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  20. Joel

    On election day I am going to proclaim my loyalty to Mars the god of War.

    November 4, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Jim

      Good for you.

      Now that your childish desire to attempt to be funny through being a fool that needs to try to poke fun at others is over – grow up.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Andrew

      Jim, you intentionally ignore Joel's point. There is exactly as much evidence for the christian god as there is for Mars – none. Evidence is the great equalizer among all the religions. It is a 100,000 way tie for first place between all the sects – they all have the same amount of evidence that they are right and all the others are wrong – none, zip, natta, zero. No god has ever been seen, touched, heard, smelled or otherwise measured or detected by any scientific instrument in any verifiable way ever. Curious for superbeings that are supposed to be real. Telling.

      So Joel is bang on right, it makes exactly as much sense to ponder jesus as you decide your vote as to ponder Mars the (other) god of war. You should be showing more respect for his faith – it is less wacky than Romney's even.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:14 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.