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. The Big ENBE

    Dear CNN,

    CNN isn't as bad as FOX, of course, but I find myself disappointed a lot at your coverage lately. Sometimes your network seems checked-out and soul-less. Is this really the article you want to put on your home page today? Is it that good? What is this non-sense? I'm just sayin....


    November 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  2. Get rid of religion!

    I just posted a negative post about religion and that it should be banned worldwide and the CNN Gestapo censors removed it in less than 5 minutes.Now we are talking freedom of speech CNN goofs!Try to learn from BBC for a change...

    November 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  3. Woody

    America sold its Soul to Athiest Chinas economy !

    November 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Jaimie

      Some rich white Christians sold americas' soul to the chinese.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • sybaris

      You could learn a lot from the Chinese

      November 4, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  4. mike

    Mark Schloneger: don't care why you're voting. Readers: we should all send to Mark Schloneger 600 word articles on "Why we're voting and why it's important to US (seems rather arrogant, I know, but Mr. Schloneger thinks that it's his business to tell us his...personal business). So...email this author. Let him know why you plan to vote, and to what or whom you are proclaiming your loyalty. Better yet, go knock on his front door at an inconvenient time and try to CONVERT him to vote for your reasoning instead of his own!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Jaimie

      It boggles the mind, that people get paid to write this stuff.

      I should start a business selling T-shirts with pictures of jesus on them. I bet there are people out there who would buy them.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • mike

      One of Jesus' faithful will sue you for using His image without paying royalties. Of course, Jesus would never see monetary damages...His faithful and their lawyers would keep those.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  5. Evil1



    November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  6. Tim

    Disgusting nonsense. Designed to keep the masses stupid.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  7. Karl Sagen

    Me, I am AC.........ALIEN CREATION

    November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  8. Aezel

    I'm going to vote based on my faith in the tooth fairy.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Jaimie

      Santa Claus for president.

      Oh wait, you have to be an american citizen to run for president. Hmm, I know, let's vote for the Wizard of Oz.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  9. Al

    Take away the tax exemption of the church of this and every other religious leader that ignores the separation of church and state.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      From what they learned in church they might just go into politics then, you idiot.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Do you want to be a Purpose Driven Master taxpayer SERVANT to the PUblic Servants? Just what we need, a Purpose Driven gubmint.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  10. Mormons are NOT Christians

    Mormons are NOT Christians. Here is what they believe:

    Garden of Eden was in Missouri when Adam and Eve were kicked out
    Jesus atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, not on the cross
    Native Americans are the descendants of the Lamanites spoken of in the Book of Mormon
    A woman's purpose in heaven is solely to birth endless babies to populate the worlds created by their husbands. Billions and billions of babies!
    You can't get into heaven without Joseph Smith's permission

    November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • sybaris

      Though they may deviate from christian dogma it is nonetheless just as absurd as some of the claims in the christian bible

      November 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • settino

      Don't forget about the majic underwear, and that mormon men are not allowed to go down on a woman, (considered a sin)but they do allow the ladies to go down on them. Now that's just not right! Could you trust a president who never tasted.....

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus, the Bread of Life

    Once Jesus was persecuted by the Scribes and Pharisees (leaders of the ancient Jews) because he dared to cure a man at Sabbath (the religious leaders implied that Jesus wanted to earn money like they themselves but they made a mistake). Hence, Jesus escaped to Galilee which was somewhat more pagan (secular) than Judea, and there Jesus could preach the gospel of himself more undisturbed.

    At Lake Galilee there was a certain mountain (maybe the mountain of the Sermon on the Mount) which Jesus always used as a kind of church (every place where God Jesus is, is a church). Actually Jesus had prefered the House of his Father, the Temple of Jerusalem, for preaching but the Jews persecuted him.

    Many people from all Palestine came to Jesus, and he welcomed them in his church (the mountain). Jesus expressed his hospitality by making bread and fishes for more than 5000 thousand people. People mainly seeked Jesus because they knew that he could cure but Jesus forgave their earthiness. and told them how they could enter God's Kingdom.

    Regretably they misunderstood him and thought he would be something like a supernatural baker.

    Yet, Jesus did not become angry but told them of a special bread which is at least as important like our daily bread, even more important.

    He told them that he himself is the Bread of Life, not a magical bread, of course, but a bread which can change us. He told them that they need to eat his flesh and to drink his blood (somewhat strange). He meant that they needed to get baptized because at sacramental baptism we get metaphysically connected with Jesus, with his death and resurrection. People knew also the sermons of John the Baptist who had told them that they should share there daily bread with people in need. When we get united with Jesus we lose our egoism, and become able to love our fellow human beings.

    Hence, when we believe ín Jesus, we start to share our daily bread with people in need in the power of Jesus' love which we received at baptism. That is the mystery of baptism.

    Don't always seek normal bread, but also the Bread of Life, Jesus.


    By the way, also the great Benjamin Franklin said that the center of true faith should be charity.

    When Jesus returns, will he find charity in the USA? Will he find faith in the USA when he returns?

    How to we get the power to overcome our egoism or selfishness? It is the faith in Jesus.

    Take the Bread of Life, and you will become able to share the bread which you have earned by your work.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • snowboarder


      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      So does your lot practice communion, Bonhoeffer won't tell me in his writings that I could find? 666

      November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Evil1

      Yawn ,.....

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • mike

      I don't think you've read much about Ben Franklin, beyond the kite scene. He was a womanizer and fierce statesman, who was likely not the example of Christian charity that you think him.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  12. Woody

    If people really believe in Jesus than why do we purchase most everything we have including christmas decorations , nativity scenes, bibles all made in an Athiest country ! Even your cross on the wall I bet has a made in athiest China on it . No wonder Americans don't have jobs ! No wonder so many Christians don't have jobs ! We give to the Athiest every day when we purchase . "Made in China"!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • sybaris

      Love thy neighbor much?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  13. Scientifipoetry

    Keep Jesus/Allah and all other religious B.S. out of politics.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Brian

      I could not agree with you more. I believe in a Higher Power but basing our lives on the book of fairy tales is insane. Read the red text in the New Testament and live by that example if you will – the rest is fluff.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  14. erin

    The only atheists who are angry about religion were those who were raised in very religious households. The rest of us are just nice folks who don't believe, but don't think we need to impose our views upon others. If only religious people would return the favor.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • done

      They wont.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • truth be told

      Atheists have tortured and murdered more people in the last hundred years than were killed in all previous centuries. So much for the "nice" atheists.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • snowboarder

      be told – i think you will find that atheists have done nothing of the kind. atheists are a tiny minority and it would not even be remotely possible for them to do so. many people use them as a scapegoat for atrocities that were simply waiting for an excuse to happen.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • sybaris

      truth be told is trying to make that connection between political ideology and religion – FAIL

      Here's an inconvenient truth for christians. Why did George Bush use his military to invade Iraq resulting in the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians?

      Because he believed his god told him it was the right thing to do.

      pot, kettle, black

      November 4, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • hilreal

      truht b e told...you need to check your math and look at the reiligous wars in history...remember Hitler was a devout Christian and was punishing the Jews for what they did to Jesus, rember the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Crusades, Ireland, ad infinitum!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      truth be told
      I run the joint, your hell, but because atheists do not believe in heaven or hell or me for that matter; the place is full of crazy christian types like you and a boring humorless lot they are. 666

      November 4, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Home of the brave

      truth be told: Sorry to break it to you, but Hitler was a Christian who spoke out against atheists (Google "was Hitler an atheist" and see for yourself). I don't think this fact is a judgment against Christians (by that reasoning I might as well hate everyone with a moustache), but it is a judgement against antagonistic, condescending Christians like yourself. Also keep in mind that prison populations have disproportionately fewer atheists/agnostics than any other religion (0.2% of prisoners even though they are 10% or more of America's population).

      November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • tucsand

      truth be told I think your mistaken on that one, More murders have been done in the name of Christianity than anything else.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  15. done

    What idiot would vote based on his faith? That is why the republicans have to bow donw to the religious right nut jobs to get votes. Even a mormom who belives in magic underware and tablets under a tree. Who knows maybe mitt wants to marry his 15 year old neice.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • giftedgirl77

      Just to throw it out there, the church down the road from my house put up a huge sign that reads "vote biblical, not political". So I would have to say a lot of idiots. This is the reason so many right wing religious nut jobs get elected.

      When will people figure out that RELIGION HAS NO PLACE IN POLITICS.

      Stop knocking on my door and trying to spread your love of god, I don't come to your house and tell you how much I love rottweilers and cats and at least I have them around to prove how awesome they are.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  16. Fact Checker

    The religious right preaches a selfish, cold and closed minded agenda while Jesus preached the opposite.

    Yes, religion has been hijacked, even Jesus has been hijacked again for some people's political purposes. It's a never ending story.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Fionaredux

      Gandhi: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      Would that be the same gandi known for drinking his own urine?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Gandhi was into very young girls. Ain't that sumpin for an attorney pharisee.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  17. Objectively Moderate

    I believe that too many of my fellow Christians have made politics their god. They truly believe that it is through politics that social changes are made. Some have gotten to the point where they believe fighting for tax cuts is more important than caring for the "least among us". Some fight hard for Pro-Life legislation (which is to be commended) but have no sympathy for the some of those children once they are out of the womb. Some find it acceptable for their political candidates to lie about their opponents, slander those opponents, and do whatever it takes to be elected. IMHO, Jesus would not involve himself in the poltical process. He would fight those who brazenly disobeyed God but he wouldn't put an R or a D by his name. Put your faith in God, not a political party.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  18. halfbakedlunatic

    'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded. Religion has NO PLACE in our political system.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Ordnry1

      God is within each and everyone of us. It's called conscience. Are we voting with a clear conscience?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  19. Fionaredux

    ack! I thought for a moment I'd accidentally clicked on my local paper, run by a sanctimonious "Christian" editor. The world needs saving, yes. But it needs saving from you self-righteous, self-centered, hate-filled, deluded pops people.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Fionaredux

      ...pod people...

      Darn you Autocomplete.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  20. Informer

    I have no problem with Jesus. It's the cult of people who claim to be following him who scare the heck out of me. Go ahead...bow your head and pray to him, spend all Sunday in church worshipping him, heck, dance around with hands full of rattlesnakes if that's your thing. Just don't pass laws that shape my life based on your beliefs.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bravo. Excellent post.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Worship is done during the week. Sundays are for family reunions with a feast. Don't drink too much.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • tucsand

      If possible get to know the people in the other secs. Maybe learn about the beliefs and why they do what they do, maybe there will be a different understanding. Education builds knowledge in many forms. When I first moved out here to the desert near Tucson I thought most of people were nuts, the majority being red necks but there are a few polygamist families out here a lot or Mormons and the rest is different religious denominations. Once I started to accept there way of life was different from mine but that didn't mean we couldn't co exist. As I learned more about my neighbors from getting to know them outside of their religion they are very nice people.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:46 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.