Monday, July 19, 2004

Christian Principles in an Election Year

From the National Council of Churches:

Our Christian faith compels us to address the world through the lens of our
relationship to God and to one another. Public discourse is enhanced as we
engage civic leaders on the values and ethics affirmed by our faith. At the
same time, religious liberty and the integrity of our democracy will be
protected as candidates refrain from using faith-based organizations and
institutions for partisan gain. We offer these ten principles to those
seeking to accept the responsibility that comes with holding public office.

1.    War is contrary to the will of God. While the use of violent force
may, at times, be a necessity of last resort, Christ pronounces his blessing
on the peacemakers. We look for political leaders who will make peace with
justice a top priority and who will actively seek nonviolent solutions to
2.    God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation.
We reject policies that abandon large segments of our inner city and rural
populations to hopelessness. We look for political leaders who will re-build
our communities and bring an end to the cycles of violence and killing.
3.    God created us for each other, and thus our security depends on the
well-being of our global neighbors. We look for political leaders for whom a
foreign policy based on cooperation and global justice is an urgent concern.
4.    God calls us to be advocates for those who are most vulnerable in our
society. We look for political leaders who yearn for economic justice and who
will seek to reduce the growing disparity between rich and poor.
5.    Each human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite
worth. We look for political leaders who actively promote racial justice and
equal opportunity for everyone.
6.    The earth belongs to God and is intrinsically good. We look for
political leaders who recognize the earth's goodness, champion environmental
justice, and uphold our responsibility to be stewards of God's creation.
7.    Christians have a biblical mandate to welcome strangers. We look for
political leaders who will pursue fair immigration policies and speak out
against xenophobia.
8.    Those who follow Christ are called to heal the sick. We look for
political leaders who will support adequate, affordable and accessible health
care for all.
9.    Because of the transforming power of God's grace, all humans are
called to be in right relationship with each other. We look for political
leaders who seek a restorative, not retributive, approach to the criminal
justice system and the individuals within it.
10.    Providing enriched learning environments for all of God's children is
a moral imperative. We look for political leaders who will advocate for equal
educational opportunity and abundant funding for children's services.

Finally, our religious tradition admonishes us not to bear false witness
against our neighbor and to love our enemies. We ask that the campaigns of
political candidates and the coverage of the media in this election season be
conducted according to principles of fairness, honesty and integrity.