In it, while discussing the relation of politics and the Bible, Justin points to Jeremiah 22, where the prophet delivers a word from the Lord to the king of Judah. There is one, unambiguous imperative for the king: "Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place" (22:3). This is the call of Yhwh that the entire fate of the dynasty rests on--this is the standard for God's kings. If you want to assess a government, you need to look at the foreigners, orphans, and widows in the land, and you need to consider if the poor are oppressed or the weak harmed. That's the measure of a nation's leaders.
Justin suggests that against this standard neither of our major presidential candidates measures up particularly well. You'll have to judge that for yourself... but the point is, you will have to judge that before November. Whatever else you think of the candidates, their visions for caring for the needy and vulnerable in America, their track records in this regard, this is what our God is concerned with above all else, and it ought to be our concern as well.
I'm also grateful that this article brought a new documentary to my attention, The Line, a short film from Sojourners, World Vision, Bread for the World, Oxfam America, and the Christian Community Development Association. The Line seeks to show us that poverty in America is real, and it might look very different than you expect. The movie tells the stories of some normal Americans, folks who could live next door to you, or could be friends of yours, who live at or below the poverty line--and not because they won't take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
You can watch the trailer below, and the full film is online at thelinemovie.com.
As the media milks the upcoming election for all that it's worth and reports on whatever issues it chooses, Christians have a responsibility to consider first of all how their votes will effect the poorest in our country. The issues are complicated and there are a lot of different ways people will try to address them, so take time to read up, listen to different positions, and prayerfully consider your options. To say this is important would be an understatement. This is the Christian life.
And, again, you can check out Justin Fung's great little piece here.