How would you apply your Christian faith to decisions in the voting booth this November? The National Council of Churches has some suggestions. They have just published a new study guide called “Christian Principles in an Election Year” and are asking Christians to consider these principles when voting for candidates. Their press release states:
"This is an important voice in the public conversation about where this nation should be headed," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, who chairs the NCC's Justice and Advocacy Commission. That multi-denominational Commission developed the principles, which then were affirmed by the NCC's Executive Committee. "The principles are not intended to be partisan, but rather to lift up common principles that have been affirmed ecumenically and that can provide guidance in this election season."
Neither are these principles meant to be exhaustive of all concerns, Dr. Kinnamon said. "There are other issues on which some Justice and Advocacy Commission members wanted to speak and that Roman Catholics and conservative evangelical Christians might add, but on which churches aren't united; among them, abortion and gay marriage. For us, the issue is how to begin a conversation in the pews. We proclaim with a bold humility that this is where we stand right now, even as we invite others into the conversation."
A number of the principles have roots in ecumenical agreements that date back more than 50 years, noted Dr. Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister and professor at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. For example, the first principle, "War is contrary to the will of God," was affirmed at the World Council of Churches' founding assembly in 1948. "It’s not a pacifist position," he said, "but it says 'no' to crusade. It acknowledges that 'while the use of force may, at times, be a necessity of last resort, Christ pronounces his blessing on the peacemakers.'"
Other principles echo such "key principles of the whole ecumenical movement" as the interrelatedness of all people, God's priority concern for the poor, the infinite worth of each person as created in the image of God, and the God-given responsibility to be stewards of God's creation, Dr. Kinnamon said.
Dr. Kinnamon is one of my professors at Eden.