I invited a few friends to respond to this week’s #PatheosElection question: What are the key issues for people of your tradition to consider as they approach this election?
Here’s the answer from Brooklyn, NY-based musician and writer Jacob Slichter, the drummer for Semisonic and author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star, a behind-the-scenes memoir of the music business.
Some key issues at stake in this election for people of my tradition (Christians), in no particular order:
Stop all attempts by conservative religious groups to roll back the separation of church and state. Christians need to stand side by side with people of all faiths as well as atheists and agnostics to safeguard this essential freedom — Freedom of Conscience.
Support Marriage Equality (vote no in Minnesota and yes in Maine). It is vital that Christians everywhere, especially in Minnesota and Maine, support the rights of all people to marry and also support the rights of the unmarried. This is all the more urgent for progressive Christians given the church’s history of persecution and bigotry. (For more information on how marriage has been politicized, I highly recommend Priscilla Yamin’s American Marriage: A Political Institution.)
Raise our voices on Climate Change. Alas, neither party has much to say about this impending global disaster. One party claims the problem doesn’t exist (helped along by fundamentalist religion), and the other party offers pathetic bromides about clean coal and “incentives for business.”
Challenge the top-down economy and corporate rule. Neither party dares to weigh in on the stark inequalities of our system. Republicans actually embrace it, while Democrats will venture no further than to say that the wealthiest should pay more in taxes. Meanwhile, the richest 20% of Americans claim 84% of its wealth, while the poorest 20% splits 3.5%. Fundamental decisions about our nation’s resources are made by the few at the very top of the ladder.
Overturn Citizens United.
Overturn the Death Penalty (vote yes on Proposition 34 in California) and confront the powerful prison industrial complex.
Bring the United States into compliance with International Law (end drone strikes and a foreign policy driven by militarization and intervention, shut down Guantanamo Bay, and so forth). Again, both political parties need to be called out.
– Jacob Slichter
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