(Local) Politics & Religion Part 2

Ah the blog series post, where I assume you have read part 1.  (It's below on Nov 29)

When people think of politics, they often think of Washington DC, the President & Congress.  I awoke this morning to learn of the upset victory of the Democrat Doug Jones defeating expected Republican Roy Moore.  I can see on my Facebook feed, a bit of attention to this race, along with various prognostications of what it means.  That's good.  I'm glad people are engaged.  But, we are missing something if we focus only on the national level.  Local politics may not involve international diplomacy, but you'd be surprised how much it impacts your life.  

This evening I made a brief visit to a campaign fundraising event for Teresa Tanzi.  She is the State Representative for District 34 in Rhode Island (Peacedale, Wakefield, Narragansett).  She is actually not my representative.  I live a few miles to the west of her district.  But, I went cause I know her through a mutual friend.  OK, well, he's not really my friend, as in college buddy.  OK, actually I know her cause she is married to my doctor.  So we're not friends, but we know each other.  Oh never mind.  I went cause I had a connection, and I've liked what I've seen in Ms Tanzi.  She strikes me as honest, committed to doing the right thing and she is a person of stamina. i.e. she is in it for the long haul.  She recognizes there is a long arc to the curve of justice, and wants to be a part of that curve.  Plus I saw on Facebook they were having the event at a new local brewery called Whalers Brew, and they were serving Oysters by the folks at Bluff Hill Oysters.  Hey, a guys gotta eat.

My motive was simple.  Go meet, support, cheer on a good person in local politics. Check out her web page.  She's been hard at work.

Should pastors and bishops be doing such things? 

My view is simple. If people of faith are not engaged in local politics they are not fully living into the call of God to be about the work of building the Kingdom of God here on earth.  Yup.  You not knowing your local political leaders, government officials, you not doing' your job.  That's true for clergy as well as the people in the pew.  In my view, we are all called to invest in civic engagement.  

In recent years, as in the last thirty, the most vocal and engaged people of faith in politics have been from the conservative side of the spectrum.  The rest of us in the middle and to the left of the religious and political spectrum have been largely absent.  We've either separated politics from religion or we've walked away from one or both.

"But, I don't like politics." you say.  OK, I hear you.  My question is this: Do you like your roads paved, plowed and planned?  Do you care about the education of your children, grandchildren, neighbors' children?  Are you concerned about how much building goes on in your community, and/or how green space is near you?  I could go on.  All that is politics.  If people aren't engaged, then decisions get made by people who are influenced by people who are engaged. 

Get connected with your local leaders.  Follow them on line, go to town hall meetings, and support people who want to make a positive impact.  And, hey, if nothing else, there might be good food.