It’s important not to get caught up in America’s current political polarization. There was a day in which Republicans were promoting the Fourteenth Amendment instead of seeking to get it repealed. Support of particular political candidates, movements, or parties, often gets the church coopted into simply providing the people to serve someone else’s agenda.
The goal of Christian education is to help people think like disciples. Disciples care about justice and the healing of our society. They expect political process to serve the needs of all people. We cannot afford to relinquish our witness or our organizational strength. Today’s world demands reasonable leadership. With this in mind, our preaching, teaching, and mission work, should support sound public policy, even when opponents demand that we seperate church from state. Our focus is always on the capacity of all people, no matter what their current political stripe, to think with compassionate hearts.
With this in mind, I seek to express my social concerns in non-partisan ways. As a matter of intellectual integrity, that is valuing reason over ideology or political expediency, I expect the candidates from both parties to present arguments aligned with the following assumptions:
- Science matters. Whether the issue is climate change, reproductive health, or the teaching of evolution in school, the best information that scientists can provide should appear in our public policy arguments. In today’s technology driven market place, we are no longer served by politicians who feign ignorance in order to pander to inefficient industries and popular opinion.
- Zero-sum game thinking is often unethical and rarely justified. Arguments relating to immigration reform, free-trade, affirmative action, affordable health insurance, etc., often become unconscionable when a speaker shouts that our country only has limited resources and that these need to be jealously guarded. In our history as a nation, has providing new opportunities to a disadvantage class of people (be they the poor, the disabled, the children of immigrants, people of color, or those who hold differing religious beliefs) ever taken away from our collective strength or endangered our productivity? Further, zero-sum game thinkers tend to downplay the ongoing problem of race and classism in our society.
- Foreign policy should be focused on humanitarian concerns. Our goal should be to work collaboratively with other like-minded nations to reduce global violence, end hunger, improve literacy and infant mortality rates, guarantee the rights of women, children, and minorities, and address environmental concerns. Other interests only lead to unnecessary wars.
The above assumptions are neither liberal nor conservative, but rather are radical, taking us back to the Jeffersonian principles that began our nation. I would ask each candidate to affirm these principles.
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- Bill Kemp