Virtual Voices

Christian principles in election 2008

Campaign 2008

The National Council of Churches offers a list of principles to direct Christians in assessing candidates. This is a list that some would simply call, "interesting." Among them are the following:

1. War is contrary to the will of God. While the use of violent force may, at times, be a necessity of last resort, Christ pronounces his blessing on the peacemakers.

2. God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation. We reject policies that abandon large segments of our inner city and rural populations to hopelessness.

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3. God created us for each other, and thus our security depends on the well-being of our global neighbors. We look for political leaders for whom a foreign policy based on cooperation and global justice is an urgent concern.

4. God calls us to be advocates for those who are most vulnerable in our society. We look for political leaders who yearn for economic justice and who will seek to reduce the growing disparity between rich and poor.

5. Each human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth. We look for political leaders who actively promote racial justice and equal opportunity for everyone.

6. The earth belongs to God and is intrinsically good. We look for political leaders who recognize the earth's goodness, champion environmental justice, and uphold our responsibility to be stewards of God's creation.

7. Christians have a biblical mandate to welcome strangers. We look for political leaders who will pursue fair immigration policies and speak out against xenophobia.

8. Those who follow Christ are called to heal the sick. We look for political leaders who will support adequate, affordable and accessible health care for all.

9. Because of the transforming power of God's grace, all humans are called to be in right relationship with each other. We look for political leaders who seek a restorative, not retributive, approach to the criminal justice system and the individuals within it.

10. Providing enriched learning environments for all of God's children is a moral imperative. We look for political leaders who will advocate for equal educational opportunity and abundant funding for children's services.

Here's the translation of these "Christian" principles: (1) Supporting the "War on Terror" in the Middle East is against Jesus' teachings. (2) Class warfare is the best way to help the truly disadvantaged. (3) Cower to will of smaller, less complex nations. (4) Wealth is sinful and should be obliterated and redistributed by the coercive use of government regulatory force. (5) Seek equality at all costs even if it creates more injustice and inequality in the long-run. (6) Environmental justice? Does this mean put the needs of frogs over humans? Clams and kids have the same ontological value. (7) Open the borders to immigrants without any regard to the need for law and encourage enjoying the benefit of social services without any obligation to contribute to the pot. (8) Universal health care is the only "Christian" view of health care. (9) Do not keep people in jail for committing crimes. It's not their fault. (10) Expand funding for America's failed public education system because throwing cash on a fire will put it out.

If you could develop a list of Christian principles in an election year for Christians, what type of principles should be on the list and why?

Anthony Bradley
Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of theology and ethics at The King's College in New York and serves as a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. He is author of Liberating Black Theology. Follow Anthony on Twitter @drantbradley.

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