Last weekend I had the opportunity to listen to Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) and professor at Eastern University, speak on the role social justice should play in our upcoming election. For those who have heard Ron speak, he is a disarming public figure in the classic rumpled tweed look one expects from our Ivy League public intellectuals akin to the typology of the tenured professorial version of Peter Falk (the perfect trinity of Columbo, the Grandfather in The Princess Bride and the fallen angel in Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire.) Two of his recent books that riff on Mark Nolls’ ‘Scandal of the Evangelical Mind’ title- ‘The Scandal of Evangelical Politics‘ and ‘The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience’ – both raise important issues that once November 5th comes around, we will all need to be aware of and willing to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Another great piece worth diving into is the thoughtful and provocative ESA magazine PRISM. Great reflective pieces that get at current issues.
In the most recent issue of PRISM, Ron Sider in an article entitled “McCain or Obama?” lays out nine issues that he sees as crucial questions to consider as one approaches the voting booth on Nov. 4th (the hyperlink for the article is for a pdf file you can download – share it with friends this week!).
These nine issues are:
4. Human rights
5. International affairs/peacemaking
6. Poverty/economic justice
7. Racial justice
8. Religious freedom
9. Sanctity of Life
In the article, Sider reminds us that “if we ask what the Bible says God cares about, the implications for our political agenda become obvious: We must be pro-life and pro-poor, pro-family and pro-creation care, pro-racial justice and pro-peacemaking.” He goes on to assert that “if you agree that a “biblically balanced agenda” is important, then you will not allow one issue to trump all others. That is not to deny that in some years, certain issues are in play in ways that others are not. But it is surely good news that more and more evangelicals seek to let the full range of God’s concern shape their politics.”
As we all go into this important act of citizenship in the next week, it is my prayer that we heed Sider’s words and address each of these issues well and go into the voting booth with a sense of a ‘completely pro-life’ agenda – not merely a view of life that begins at conception and ends at birth.
BTW – we have added a new widget to TheologyKungFu that links you to some tunes to listen to during your reading and commenting on TheologyKungFu postings. This week’s song – as an anthem for your voting discernment – is track 3 from Ten Years After’s album ‘A Space in Time’ – “I’d Love to Change the World”. This is a great anthem to get you into the mode of revolution in the voting booth!!!
You can play to song for free here on TheologyKungFu – just press ‘play’ on the widget and enjoy!