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God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat.

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, November 1, 2004

“It is the responsibility of every political conservative, every evangelical Christian, every pro-life Catholic, every traditional Jew, every Reagan Democrat, and everyone in between to get serious about re-electing President Bush,’ said Jerry Falwell to the New York Times, July 16, 2004

“I think George Bush is going to win in a walk. I really believe I’m hearing from the Lord it’s going to be like a blowout election in 2004. The Lord has just blessed him … It doesn’t make any difference what he does, good or bad …” said Pat Robertson to the AP/Fox News, January 2, 2004

These leaders of the Religious Right mistakenly claim that God has taken a side in this election and that Christians should only vote for George W. Bush.

We believe that claims of divine appointment for the president, uncritical affirmation of his policies, and assertions that all Christians must vote for his re-election constitute bad theology and dangerous religion.

We believe that sincere Christians and other people of faith can choose to vote for President Bush or Senator Kerry – for reasons deeply rooted in their faith.

We believe all candidates should be examined by measuring their policies against the complete range of Christian ethics and values.

We will measure the candidates by whether they enhance human life, human dignity, and human rights; whether they strengthen family life and protect children; whether they promote racial reconciliation and support gender equality; whether they serve peace and social justice; and whether they advance the common good rather than only individual, national, and special interests.

We also admonish both parties and candidates to avoid the exploitation of religion or our congregations for partisan political purposes.

By signing this statement, we call Christians and other people of faith to a more thoughtful involvement in this election, rather than claiming God’s endorsement of any candidate.

This is the meaning of responsible Christian citizenship.

We are not single-issue voters.

We believe that poverty – caring for the poor and vulnerable – is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families? Do their foreign policies include fair trade and debt cancellation for the poorest countries? (Matthew 25:35-40, Isaiah 10:1-2)

We believe that the environment – caring for God’s earth – is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it? (Genesis 2:15, Psalm 24:1)

We believe that war – and our call to be peacemakers – is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ policies pursue “wars of choice” or respect international law and cooperation in responding to real global threats? (Matthew 5:9)

We believe that truth-telling is a religious issue. Do the candidates tell the truth in justifying war and in other foreign and domestic policies? (Matthew 5:33-37, John 8:32)

We believe that human rights – respecting the image of God in every person – is a religious issue. How do the candidates propose to change the attitudes and policies that led to the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners? (Genesis 1:27)

We believe that our response to terrorism is a religious issue. Do the candidates adopt the dangerous language of righteous empire in the war on terrorism and confuse the roles of God, church, and nation? Do the candidates see evil only in our enemies but never in our own policies? (Matthew 6:33, 7:15, Proverbs 8:12-13)

We believe that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ positions on abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS – and other pandemics – and genocide around the world obey the biblical injunction to choose life? (Deuteronomy 30:19)

This petition was initiated by Jim Wallis (editor of Sojourners magazine), Tony Campolo (professor of sociology at Eastern University), Joan Chittister, OSB (Benedictine Sisters of Erie), and Brian McLaren (author and senior pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church). The petition has now been signed by best-selling author Philip Yancey, dozens of religious leaders and college presidents, and more than 70,000 faithful citizens.

A version of this ad appeared in The New York Times during the week of the Republican National Convention and in the hometown papers of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

We, the undersigned members of the Notre Dame campus community, wholeheartedly endorse this message and we paid to publish the ad on page XX of today’s paper offering the free “God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat.” sticker.

Progressive Student Alliance; Notre Dame Progressive Faculty and Staff Alliance, Notre Dame Peace Coalition, Ed Cohen, Judith Fox, Christopher Fox, William O’Rourke, John Monczunski, Gail Bederman, Clark Power, Ann Power, Francisco Aragón, Laura Bayard, Catherine Perry, Kimbra Smith, John Welle, E. Jane Doering, Barbara Booker, John Duffy, Ava Preacher, Sonia Gernes, Rachel Tomas Morgan, Joanne Mack, Mary Beckman, Teresa Phelps, Barbara Fick, Alven Neiman, Anne Montgomery, Laura Fuderer, Margaret Doody, Barbara Szweda, Jill Godmilow, Ann Walshe, Peter Walshe, Valerie Sayers, Chris Jara, Gressa McDowell, Darcia Narvaez, Heather Marconi, Stephen Fredman, Barbara Black-Fredman, Bob Jones, Lisa Koop, Caroline Murray of Pasquerilla East Hall, John Welke, Ivy Wilson, Nicole LaVoi, Stuart Greene, Janet Kourany

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally submitted to The Observer as an advertisement. However, because The Observer does not allow advertisements that contain editorial or ideological content, The Observer rejected the advertisement and offered the authors the opportunity to resubmit the text to the Viewpoint section.