Living Out the Gospel in Each and Every Election

Living Out the Gospel in Each and Every Election

“It’s very much a part of our tradition, as Christians, to be engaged in the public square….When people say, ‘Let’s not get political in the church,’ [it helps to remember that] Jesus was very political. He was engaged in how his culture; his community was being shaped and who was being left out of the decision-making process.”  ~ Rev. Dr. Eric Ledermann, University Presbyterian Church, Tempe, Arizona
While the subject of politics can be fraught with tension, as people of faith voting necessitates an alignment with our most deeply held values. Having served local churches as a pastor, I strived to keep partisanship at bay knowing that within the congregation political affiliations covered the gambit.  But over time I came to appreciate that while the Gospel is not at all partisan, it is political. It does require something of us. In a nutshell it asks, “Who is my neighbor?” 
Yet after two years of battling a pandemic that doesn’t appear to be abating, many have grown weary. Understandably, one may ask, “Can the wider church continue in hope and in faithfulness, given dire concerns over the state of our world and our country? And in the wake of these and other seemingly insurmountable challenges, one might also ask, “When organized religion appears to be unresponsive in the face of all this, is it even possible to be relevant as a spiritual home?”
Given how overwhelmed folks are, it is understandable to think that avoiding bad news is the best solution when it comes to encouraging congregational wellbeing. But for those who are actually weathering the “bad news” whether it be a chronic illness not covered by health care, working long hours but not making a livable wage or living next to a toxic waste dump, would they seek out a church that doesn’t want to acknowledge these things?’  Likewise, if you’re on the receiving end of the 440 restrictive voting bills drafted by legislators in 49 states that target people of color, the poor and the young, would a community that doesn’t want to talk about these things earn your trust? 
Developed by the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team of the SNEUCC, the Creation Care Voter Pledge, (CCVP), is the focus for this team at Super Saturday on March 19th.  As a pledge, CCVP asks each of us and whole congregations to be engaged in the public square and vote; to care for our neighbor and all of God’s good creation.  

We also have chosen Nathaniel Stinnett, founder and executive director of the Environmental Voter Project, (EVP), as the guest speaker for the Super Saturday session. Concerning the impact of voting restrictions, Stinnett observes, “Suppression efforts have a direct and devastating impact on communities of color and on our poorest neighborhoods. What may be less obvious, is that voter suppression is also terrible for people who care most about clean air, clean water and climate change.”
Long ago, Jesus was asked this question, “And just who is my neighbor?” Though most if not all of us have heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan, two thousand years later it continues to be as relevant.   Then as now Jesus asks us, “When was the last time you exercised mercy?  When did you finally realize that the one you thought a mere stranger and outsider, had been your neighbor all along?”


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Jessica Anne McArdle

Rev. Dr. Jessica McArdle is a member of the SNEUCC Environmental Ministry Team, and a writer, researcher, and advocate for God's creation. She posts at

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