I can’t say it as well as Jim Wallis says it in his God’s Politics blog post, “My Personal ‘Faith Priorities’ For This Election,” but here are my own. These are my non-negotiables.
1. The candidate has to be pro-choice and pro-life. This may sound like a cop-out, but hear me out. I want a candidate who is pro-life in all its forms: for unborn fetuses and the prospective mothers, against the death penalty, temperate about war, and concerned about each person’s quality of life. But he or she also needs to recognize that what each person does is between him or her and his or her God and it is not for us to judge or stand in the way of that relationship.
2. As I said above, I want a candidate who will use diplomacy before a show of might. Who will talk softly while carrying a big stick. Senator McCain emphasized the big stick in the second presidential debate, but it’s understood that the U.S. has that; what it needs more of is the soft talking.
3. I want a candidate who fights for the the unfortunates and against the those who are greedy and self-seeking. Who believes in the common good. Who recognizes that one of the roles of government is to pool together all our resources in order to take care of all our countrymen and -women.
4. The candidate has to be a proponent of women’s equality in all phases and sectors of life. A corollary to this is a concern for children and families, which means that the candidate must seek ways to make work more equitable, flexible and rewarding, to supply adequate child care programs for all children, to curb and punish violence in the home, to offer affordable educational opportunities to all people (from whatever class and whatever age), to protect and expand the Family Medical Leave Act, to fight for maternity and paternity leave (ideally paid), and to provide health care for all.
5. The candidate has to care and pass measures to protect our environment. These means policies that explore green ways to provide energy as well as to take up the mantle of the sacred trust that is ours: responsible stewardship of the planet and all that is on it.
6. This is related to #2, but I want a candidate who seeks to work cooperatively with all nations, to not seek only what is good for America, to not wage wars for fiancial gain, but based on justice and human values and to join the planet in fighting global warming and for other environmental concerns.
7. I want to see compassion in my candidate, a caring and respect for all people regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion and social class. I want a candidate who is willing and eager to work and act locally and globally.
8. The candidate must work to rehabilitate America’s stature in the world and among its own citizens. To do that he must have impeccable character and sensitivity toward others.
9. The ideal candidate must also have humility and a willingness to listen to his opponents as well as his advisors.
10. And finally, the candidate must have wisdom and spiritual maturity.
If a candidate fits all these requirements then I believe he or she will be in line with Christ’s mandates to His followers, whether or not he or she is a Christian. I believe in a technical separation of church and state, but not a separation of values and actions. And I believe that a nation led by such a president can be an agent for good in this world. God will be able to work wonders such as we haven’t seen in this country in a long time. I truly believe that.