When we’re choosing a president or examining a candidate, it’s fair to ask about their moral compass – how their values affect their decision-making and policy positions. What we shouldn’t do, however, is require that everyone believe in the same doctrine or espouse the same religious traditions.
In the past several months, we’ve seen Christians launch increasingly inappropriate attacks on candidates. From the misguided to the outrageous, here are a few of them:
Rick Perry ran ads stating the current administration had declared a “war on religion.”(1)
Pastor Robert Jeffress attacked Mitt Romney during the primaries by calling Mormonism a “cult.”(2)
Randall Terry, a radical conservative activist, has released ads telling Christians that “when you support Obama … it’s as if your vote is an attack on Jesus himself.”(3)
Mike O’Neal, Kansas House Speaker, sent an email to his Republican colleagues saying that his prayer for President Obama is Psalm 109:8, which reads: “May his days be few; and another take his place of leadership.”(4)
Christians often disagree. Sometimes we become passionate and argue. But these tactics go too far.
Will you sign the pledge below to model a different way to engage faith during this election season?
The Constitution guarantees that there is no religious test in this country, and it needs to stay that way.
We believe, if these attacks are left unchecked, it will only get worse as the election continues. What our country needs is pastors and Christian leaders who are willing to lead by example and show a better path for political engagement.
We need 1,000 faith leaders to sign the pledge so we can get this message across to the national media.
The media has focused on evangelical leaders who consider themselves kingmakers, but we know that there’s an alternative Christian voice in this country.
But we can’t do it alone – we need your partnership. Will you add your name?
The Sojourners Team
1 Rick Perry 2012, ‘Strong’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA
2 ‘Mormonism Is A Cult, But A Theological Cult’, The Huffington Post, 11 October 2011 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/robert-jeffress-mormonism-_n_1004093.html
3 ‘Randall Terry in graphic anti-abortion political ads: Voting for Obama is attacking Jesus Christ’, God Discussion, 6 December 2011 http://www.goddiscussion.com/86373/randall-terry-in-graphic-anti-abortion-political-ads-voting-for-obama-is-attacking-jesus-christ/
4 ‘Mike O’Neal, Kansas House Speaker, Emails Prayer Some Say Wishes For Obama’s Death’, The Huffington Post, 13 January 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/mike-oneal-obama-death-prayer-psalm-109_n_1205059.html