As part of the ongoing Patheos 2012 election coverage and commentary, I am opening up my blog for Presbyterians to answer this week’s question, “What are the key issues at stake in this election for people of your tradition?” I gave no guidance other than to keep it around 500 words and to avoid bashing and dehumanizing rhetoric. If you would like in for this week, message me via my FB Page.
Next up, Adam Copeland -
I have a particular interest in the issues we aren’t talking about this election season. I’m can’t be totally sure this is due to my faith rather than my penchant for debate. Either way, though, the Presidential candidates’ focus on the undecided middle-of-the-road voter has left many important issues untouched. (In fact, this post is greatly influenced by a FM League Night conversation on the topic last night.)
What I Care About That’s Not Talked About
Climate Change. A friend said last night that this is the first election cycle since 1980 during which climate change was not mentioned in the Presidential debates! It’s a social justice, creation care, and global hunger issue that requires immediate action, not denial.
Two Party Politics / Congressional Inaction. In our system the President’s power to affect much of anything is limited by congress. Gerrymandered districts, the cost of elections, and the payoff for extreme positions handcuff the system. We need politicians who play well with others. Compromise must not be not a dirty word. Friendships across the aisle must drastically increase.
Gun Violence. The current system isn’t working. Too many people die from guns. Period. Addressing the problem will take courage and working outside of NRA-sanctioned norms.
Prison Reform. Our incarceration rate affects every aspect of society. 1 in 100 Americans is in jail. 1 in 15 black adults is behind bars, as is 1 in 9 black men aged 20-34. The US represents 5% of the world’s population, but holds almost 1/4 of the world’s incarcerated persons. We must address this problem from every angle.
Health Care. The Affordable Care Act is a huge step in the right direction, but it’s only one step. Implementation of the law will take time, and if Americans keep eating and exercising as we do (or don’t), if we continue rewarding physicians as we do, the health cost curve will not bend downward. As always, it’s the poor who will be affected most.
Poverty. “The middle class,” is mentioned at every rally this year, but it’s the poor whom I really worry about. Their voice is not heard. Their stories are not told. The cycle of poverty is not being broken.
Supreme Court. Three justices will reach their 80s during the next presidential term. The current court is among the most conservative in decades. Due to lifetime tenure, the next president’s appointments will affect the country for decades.
Looking back at this list now, I do see that my commitment to every one of these issues is directly connected to my faith. Though I am prepared to argue for these issues in the language of the public square, each one is central to me because of my Christian foundation.
Submitted by Adam and reposted from www.adamjcopeland.com.
[Adam Copeland, a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), teaches in the Religion Department at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he also serves as Faculty Director for Faith and Leadership.]
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