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. Robert

    I guess Jesus is a write-in vote on the Indianan ballot....

    November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  2. Paul

    Upset at this crap. Advice, Since CNN and copying FOX News, what is a good third alternative?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  3. FourleafTayback

    Atheists, OWS and NAMBLA love the Democrat Party....nice going Democrats...be proud.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • I am God

      You have the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other extremist groups supporting your party, so you really shouldn't be talking.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Stephen

      Sure they do. Typical comment from the low-information voter on the Right. Have some more Kool-Aide.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  4. I am God

    Religion being shaped by politics? I'm sorry, but that is the other way around. Politics is being shaped by religion.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  5. nelly

    Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  6. Fitter876

    Wait a minute, this whole article could be a left wing conspiracy to block the vote of evangelicals so they go to communion instead of vote!! I bet rush will be talking about this tomorrow!!! Maybe hell mention the alien invasion too and how obama is from the planet cruton

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  7. Stephen

    "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".

    Oh brother, you're an idiot..to stupid to discern fact from fiction. I guess its hurts your mind less to not have to work to solve the world's problems and issues by dishing off the heavy lifting to your mythical sky fairy.

    Now, go on...the adults want to talk.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  8. met614

    We are truly lost in the darkness.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  9. Plumbline

    Well said.........Amen.

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

      But remember..........It still is a God given duty to vote..........

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  10. Smoothshocker

    We should worship the Aztec god

    Xipe Totec – Our Lord of the Flayed One
    God of suffering and diseases and goldsmiths. His worship required the flaying of a slave and the wearing of his skin.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  11. charles darwin

    My vote is for REASON not fairy tales.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Tom

      You "reason' is based on a religion and fairy tales Darwin. Either you know that and are ignoring it or you don't know what you believe as well as you think you do.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  12. Ed

    I have to say that I am a pretty serious Catholic Christian and my religion affects many aspects of my life. Religion should never be your focus when you're voting. All that you should vote for is how you will be able to support your family/yourself and life relatively prosperous for the years to come. The Church has even said that you should vote on "your own conscience" which means you make the right choice. But if your religious beliefs are the ONLY factor to who you're voting for, then don't vote.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • charles darwin

      I am not religious, but by far this is the most sensible post I have read.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Ed

      Hey Ed, I'm Ed. You are NOT Ed. Ed is not a serious catholic (oxymoron?)

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  13. tomsluque

    You are totally lost in time and space , watch out that he's coming and you won't see him .

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  14. aktap

    Saying a Mans Religion doesn't matter when your picking the head man is insane! the guy who's going to be controlling your future for the next 4 years? boys you'd better think it over. law's are moral choice's. And not set down by nature, but nurture! Mormons are not Christians, read your Bibles before you pull that handle. Think about it, pick the Christian! there's not one Evangelical on the Supreme Court? ever stop to think just how great the GOP's been working for Evangelical Christians. when I read my Bible the Answer is not at all!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • charles darwin

      You are correct, all myths are not created equally.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Some of us don't want the access to the nuclear codes given to people who believe in winged men and talking snakes and leprechauns.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Truth Hurts

      The reason why there are only Catholics and Jews on the Supreme Court is that they represent the true Judeo-Christian faith. All so-called Protestant denominations and Orthodox ones are heresies. Heretics should be burnt, not promoted to the Supreme Court.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  15. globalgary

    "Christians" don't seem to follow a lot of what Jesus said - for example why do people pray in church since Jesus said: "Whenever you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in private" (Matthew 6:6).

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  16. visitor

    The problem I have this this article is the implied lack of respect for the election. I suppose it is fine to have a religious ceremony on election day, but that in itself is a political act. The ceremony exists because of the election, not the other way around, and I am not sure what point the Pastor is trying to make other than hoping on the coattails of the election. Nothing wrong with some religious PR, but again, I am not sure I don't detect a note of contempt.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  17. My Name is Legion

    Actually you telepathically communicated with a being from Kolob, amongst other things your vision are standard beliefs when the magic wine kicks in.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  18. Guest

    The mocking of God on this page, makes me sick!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Rob

      Don't worry... You make us sick as well...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Sane Person

      Indeed! If only you had an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful wizard on a hotline you could call to put an end to it. That would teach em!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • charles darwin

      The mocking of common sense and reason makes me puke!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Ed

      I couldn't agree more. There are people on here who want to pretend that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist. They will repent and feel the wrath of His noodly appendage!!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • J.D. Fisher

      He doesn't exist, so I don't think he minds.

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

      The mocking of Jesus on this article is but a sign of the times we live in........

      .......1 John 2:18......... Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Steve

      A person cannot be made to see. One must open their own eyes and ears. A person must be willing to shed the delusions of their own superiority first. Once you decide that there is more to the world than you ever thought possible, you will begin to see and begin to believe.

      Harbor no ill will against the naysayers.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  19. No Religion

    Separation of church and state should extend to the candidacy and the voters as well, if you're religion will influence how you run for office or your vote then you cannot run or vote.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  20. Seyedibar

    By all means, base your vote and your entire philosophy on a fictional folklore character.
    I'm voting for Batman!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:59 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.