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America’s newest congresswoman is a Church of Christ member


Janice Hahn

America’s newest congresswoman is a Church of Christ member and alumnus of Abilene Christian University in Texas.
Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., elected in July, becomes the third member of Churches of Christ — the first woman — in the U.S. House.
Hahn is a member of the Redondo Beach Church of Christ. During the recent debate on the nation’s debt ceiling, she took time out on Sunday to drive to church in Arlington, Va. “And that was no easy feat,” her chief of staff, Jason Linde, told Grant Rampy, ACU’s director of public relations.
ACU provides more details:

Janice Hahn (’75), three-term member of the Los Angeles City Council, has become the second Abilene Christian University graduate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, joining U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (’70) of Houston.
She won a runoff election last night over Republican Craig Huey to represent California’s Congressional District 36. Hahn won 54.6 percent of the runoff vote, following a May 17 special election in which she and Huey finished atop a field of 16 candidates.
Hahn replaces Rep. Jane Harman , who retired in late February, and represents Los Angeles County voters in communities such as Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, El Segundo, Venice, Wilmington, Marina del Rey, and San Pedro.
She comes from a family of public servants: her brother, James Hahn , was mayor of L.A. from 2001-05; her father, Kenneth Hahn , was L.A. County supervisor for 40 years, and a member of the City Council; her uncle, Gordon Hahn , was a state assemblyman and an L.A. councilman; another uncle, John Hahn, was L.A. assistant county clerk; and a cousin, Dale Hahn , was a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County from 1987-2004.
“The daughter of missionaries, our mother lived her life devoted to God and her family,” said a statement from the family. “She was, without a doubt, the driving force behind our entire family. It was through her strength and support that our father, Kenny, become one of the most beloved leaders in Los Angeles’ history.”
Back on campus, Hahn remembers being one of the few students to wear a Willie the Wildcat athletics mascot costume, according to a story in The Optimist when she was at ACU in March for a speaking engagement.
“I tried out for varsity cheerleader and lost. It was more devastating than any political battle I’ve ever lost,” joked Hahn, who also was member of women’s social club Sigma Theta Chi. “I talked to the basketball coach about being the mascot. My friends made me a costume. I just remember it being furry and hot – but it was worth it.”

Hahn joins Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a member of the Bammel Church of Christ in Houston, and Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., a member of the Lehman Avenue Church of Christ in Bowling Green, in the House.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is a member of the University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin.

  • Feedback
    Readers may be interested in her position on abortion and homosexual “rights”. This from her website “Janice Hahn has always been a staunch supporter of equal rights for all Americans, and has always strongly believed that every person should have the right to marry whoever he or she chooses. She stood up against Proposition 8 and has supported efforts to overturn it, is strongly against the Defense of Marriage Act, and is proud of President Obama�s effort to do away with Don�t Ask Don�t Tell. When she goes to Congress, Janice will be a fighter for the LGBTQ community and will do everything she can to ensure equality for all Americans.”
    http://janicehahn.com/issues/pages/
    Steve Boyd
    August, 19 2011

    Why does she join the Democratic party? Democratic party support gay marriage, abortion, etc.
    Dawn Perkovich Alman
    August, 19 2011

    Glad to see a sister being able to add her voice to the national debate. I will be praying for her. Thanks for letting us know about this.
    Roger B. Woods
    August, 19 2011

    Do you think God is a Republican?
    Nancy Bradley
    August, 19 2011

    Dawn, I am not a registered Democrat, but I can certainly tell you that there are many, many, many registered Democracts who DO NOT support/believe in Gay marriages, Abortions, etc. just as there are MANY, MANY, MANY registered Republicans who DO support/believe in Gay Marriages, Abortions, etc. I like to think that I am first of all, a Christian and then an American. I believe we need MORE Christians involved in our political system and pray for them to be strong in their faith!
    Dorothy Byers
    August, 19 2011

    Based on the information posted on Rep. Hahn’s website, I would probably vote for her.
    Charles Stelding
    August, 19 2011

    Janice is my hero! We need more Christians in this “One Country Under GOD”.
    Steve Gordon
    August, 19 2011

    Rep. Hahn – Proud to have you as a sister in Christ in our nation’s Capital. Fun to read about you in the paper.
    Liz Westland Wright
    August, 19 2011

    Dawn,
    First, believing that abortion and gay marriage should be legal is not nearly the same as “supporting” them. I believe much behavior is sinful but that it is not the purpose of the state to prohibit it (what else should be illegal? Drunkenness? Divorce? Unwholesome talk and coarse joking?); I would suspect that Ms. Hahn feels the same way.
    If you look at Ms. Hahn’s website, you will notice that about the first ten or so “issues” she talks about are nothing to do with abortion or gay marriage. So it’s obvious that she is passionate about a number of issues, and all of those influence her choice of party. I’m not sure why many Christians think that abortion and gay marriage “trump” every other issue, but I find that view silly.
    I am glad to see a Christian woman in a position of power. May God bless her.
    James
    August, 20 2011

    Very disturbing that a member of the church of Christ in Congress would support homosexual “marriage” and be pro-abortion. Both of these positions fly in the face of biblical admonitions, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent.
    Brian Jones
    August, 20 2011

    Rep. Hahn is not “pro-abortion”. Actually, no one is for abortion. Rep. Hahn believes that government should not dictate the decision that a woman and her doctor make together. She believes that a choice should be available and not criminalized. She also does not “support homosexual marriage.” Even if one disagrees on religious grounds that homosexuality is a sin, homosexual marriage is an issue of equality under our constitution, not a religious one. These are understandably difficult issues. It’s important that we separate our religious views from constitutional principles. For example, no one is for divorce. However the Bible teaches against it, but our secular laws allow divorce rather than criminalize it. I believe that this is a valid Christian position.
    Charles Stelding
    August, 20 2011

    “America’s newest congresswoman is a Church of Christ member.” So very, very denominational in tone. As sectarian as “America’s newest congressperson is a Baptist … or Methodist … or Lutheran member.”
    Victor Knowles
    August, 22 2011

    In response to a couple of the other posts, yes, pro-choice usually means pro-abortion. Especially since the abortion industry makes money off of abortions and in turn supports candidates who support abortion. Also, how can a person support gay marriage and not be pro-homosexual? Those who practice homosexuality have the right to live together and are not denied the right to vote or use the same public or private services that everyone else does, unlike the real discrimination that wrongly took place in this country just over a generation ago. Changing an institution that has been the same for millennia to force people to accept your lifestyle is not a civil right. Unfortunately, the Congresswoman supports both abortion and homosexuality. It is sad that a �member� of the church would take such unscriptural positions on these issues.
    Frank Schipani
    August, 22 2011

    Can we not just say that she is a Christian? a disciple of Christ? a member of His body? His church? I dislike using a Capital C for church–it does denominationalize us–semantics do matter. We will love her because she is a sister, and pray for the things on which she votes and takes a stand. Editors, can you take note and change some of this “C” business? Thank you.
    Kathy Lee
    August, 22 2011

    Frank, I think you might be misunderstanding Rep. Hahn.
    Is it possible to allow under constitutional law what one does not personally approve?
    For example, a person of Hindu faith is allowed to practice his/her religion in America. To make Hinduism a criminal offense would be against our constitution. If Rep. Hahn takes the position that Hindus have the religious freedom to practice their faith and defends their right, does that make her “pro-Hindu”? Of course not. A Christian politician may not “approve” of Hinduism, but allow such religion to be practiced in the U.S. A faithful Christian will defend the constitutional right of those of other faiths. It does not make one “pro-Hindu”.
    For the same reason, Rep. Hahn is neither “pro-abortion” nor “pro-homosexual”.
    Charles Stelding
    August, 23 2011

    I heard Janice’s second inaugural address as an L.A. City Council member. One wonderful line sticks in my memory: “working poor should be an oxymoron”. If she is half as dedicated as a congressperson as she was to her (large!) district of the City of Los Angeles, the country will be well served. I hope all Christians pray for our elected officials whether or not we would support them politically. Knowing that Janice loves the Lord adds a note of joy to my prayers for her!
    Daniel
    August, 23 2011

    The constitution gives protection to all, which includes unborn children. It is strange that people think that a mother should decide the fate of her child up to the time of it’s birth but is not afforded that same right one minute after it’s birth. Mothers are now allowed to kill or have her child killed up to the time of it’s birth but if she kills it an hour after it is born she is a criminal. Anyone who is in favor of allowing a mother to kill her child is not understanding the bible or the constituion correctly. And that includes the Supreme Court. It is time to overturn Roe V. Wade. It is time to elect only those who want to uphold the constitution. Just because you are a member of the church of Christ doesn’t mean you are right on everything. Even though I am a member of Christ’s church I would never vote for anyone who favors the killing of unborn or samesex marriage be they Democrats or Republicans or Independents.
    Gwen Mclaughlin
    August, 23 2011

    Charles,
    I completely understand what you were saying, I simply disagree with it. If abortions were to decrease, abortionist would lose money and thus support from them for politicians would decrease. But to your point, she is either pro-abortion as I think she or she believes that abortion is the deliberate taking away of an innocent human life and supports the continuing legality of it as you suggest. I much rather she be the former than the latter.
    Secondly, redefining marriage to include same sex couples is an attempt to normalize and force acceptance of homosexuality. Legally, a homosexual marriage would have to be recognized in the same manner that a traditional marriage. Already those who believe that homosexuality is a sin are now being labeled as *****s. How is that not promoting homosexuality? There have already been cases of people with religious objections to homosexuality being penalized. Off the top of my head, I think of a New Mexico photographer who was fined for not photographic a same sex commitment ceremony or a Florida teacher who was fired for stated on his Facebook page that he would not accept gay marriage because of his faith. I don�t care if two people of the same sex want to live together. It�s when they try to make it so that people are pressured into accepting their sinful lifestyle that I object. This is what the whole gay marriage movement is about and yes, it is pro-homosexual. I believe we should treat people who struggle with this sin with love and kindness but we cannot ignore the fact that it is a sin and not something a Christian should support.
    God bless.
    Frank Schipani
    August, 23 2011

    Congratulations Janice!
    Knowing you love the Lord and share his goodness and kindness that refreshes to those around you brings me joy. I hope others will join in prayer for you as you rejoice and engage in new challenges and responsibilities with which our Lord has blessed you, that his Spirit continues to guide and adorn you with his strength through wisdom, that his comfort assures your heart with the faith that he will always be with you even in those challenging days when it may be difficult to decipher what is best for the country but being fully aware that many are prayng for you who “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
    John Matsumoto
    August, 23 2011

    This is probably not the place to debate the issues of abortion and gay marriage.
    All I’m saying is that to claim Sen Hahn is “pro abortion” or “pro gay marriage”, as some comments above claim, is like saying she is “pro divorce”, since she is against criminalizing divorce.
    She is not pro Hindu (see my previous comment), just because she defends the right of all religions to practice their religion.
    It is the careless and unkind ways that some of the comments above describe her positions that I find unfair.
    Charles Stelding
    August, 24 2011

    I agree that this is probably not the right place for this discussion, however, I just want to respond to your reply. The problem with your analogy is that neither divorce nor Hinduism in this county have resulted in the ending of over 50 million human lives. Over a century and a half ago, many people were opposed to slavery and yet did not oppose its continuation in Southern states or its expansion into new states. History has rightly looked on that position as wrong. Both that position and the �pro-choice� position have not helped those who have suffered while people exercise their �freedoms.� Why is it unkind to want to spare a child from the consequences of abortion?
    I have also found the �I�m pro-choice but I don�t support abortion� position to be puzzling. If abortion is not the ending of a human life, then why shouldn�t someone support it and be pro-abortion? If it is the ending of a human life, then why would anyone want to legalize it?
    I have friends and family members who are involved in homosexuality. I care deeply about them and have great relationships with them. I don�t care from a legal standpoint who someone wants to have a relationship with as long as they are both adults. The movement to legalize gay marriage, however, is an attempt to legitimize that lifestyle and silence those who believe it is sinful. Before you disagree consider that you have called me �careless and unkind� because I don�t share your view on this issue. I have not made any similar judgments about you.
    Finally, I actually like some the Congresswoman’s other positions. I agree with her that there should not be a “working poor” and I applaud her support of unions and agree with her on the goal of providing health care to all. I think these are very Christian positions.
    If you would like to discuss this further, you are welcome to contact me at [email protected] God bless.
    Frank
    P.S. I just notice that the system replaed the word b-i-g-o-t-s with ****s in one of my earlier posts. I just wanted to share that so that everyone knew I wasn’t using bad language in my post.
    Frank Schipani
    August, 24 2011

    Frank, thanks for your good thoughts about abortion and gay marriage.
    My main point is not to argue those complicated issues. I only wanted to point out that it is not fair to say that Rep. Hahn is FOR abortion or FOR gay marriage. I’m not sure if I’m making myself clear enough. I may have trouble communicating my main point.
    Charles Stelding
    August, 24 2011

    Abortion is the taking of innocent life. Homosexuality is sin. Marriage is only between a man and a woman as recognized by God.
    A brother or sister in Christ can be wrong. And can be wrong on these issues of high importance in our country today.
    I would urge brothers and sisters to treat the senator as a brother or sister not as a run of the mill politician.
    With prayers, with love, with Scriptures given in a loving way. It’s been dignified in here so far but we should be cautious to avoid the heated political rhetoric that engulfs all political debate today.
    B
    August, 25 2011

    While I think some of these comments have been useful, they illustrate the unfortunate fact that abortion and gay marriage “swamp” all other issues for so many Christians. Unemployment is over 9%. Poverty is high. We are fighting two wars and assisting in others. Civil war is ravaging African nations. Global warming is a serious threat. I don’t know how one can look at the world today and think that abortion and gay marriage are the only two issues that matter — particularly when what a politician can do about those two issues is tiny compared to his/her impact on economic and foreign policy. If we are to be good citizens, we need to take a much wider view of the world. And for those who say they care about “moral issues”, I say that education, poverty, and climate change ARE moral issues. So why oh why are we so focused on two issues?
    James
    August, 26 2011

    Thanks, James, for your thoughtful comments. I, too, feel that, as you say, “education, poverty, and climate change ARE moral issues” and that we as Christians often focus too much on the two issues of homosexual marriage and abortion. I appreciate the thoughtful exchange on the issues, but I am most happy to see so many Christians praying for our Christian sister in Congress. As so many have said, it is important for Christians to be involved in our nation’s government, and I’m particularly proud, as a Christian woman who often votes Democrat, to have a Christian woman who also votes with the Democrats working for us.
    R.P.
    August, 26 2011

    This is an interesting discussion. I have a question: Is there room within the Church of Christ for members to disagree? I grew up in the church, and I think it can be a very difficult place to voice dissenting views. Many Christians support abortion rights for women, including many Church of Christ members. You may believe the Bible forbids abortion, but I can’t find it in there. (Yes, I know the verses that have been interpreted by some to indicate this. I don’t find them conclusive at all. But that’s just me, and others have to decide for themselves.) I don’t like the idea of abortion, but I agree with the pro-choice movement that it is between a patient and her doctor, not the government. Does the Church of Christ take an official position on this? Should it?
    And what about war? Certainly if abortion is a sin because it is the taking of innocent life, war must be a sin a million times worse. Wouldn’t war have to be a sin to a God who commands us to love everyone, to build our lives on love, and to love even those who persecute us, even our enemies? Yet there is no official position on war, why one on abortion?
    What about other controversial issues, such as gay marriage? I support gay marriage, and I support it based on my biblical understanding of who Jesus was and the kind of life he led (and who he spent time with and who he condemned); scholarly writings on possible misinterpretations of key scripture that deal with homosexuality; and also the understanding that we all sin, daily and constantly, and Jesus never said some sins were worse than others. Jesus never said to take it upon ourselves to punish some sins. Plus of course, I value the separation of church and state so much. As mentioned above, there are many sinful things we do not legislate, divorce being the obvious analogy to gay marriage, since you could say pretty much all the same things about divorce as you say about gay marriage.
    Anyway, I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind – I don’t think I could, and I wouldn’t want to. I don’t think I or anyone else has a monopoly on the truth or the interpretation of biblical applications to complex issues. I’m just wondering, as a former member, is there a place in the Church of Christ for these kinds of discussions and disagreements, or does the Church take a specific stance? Would someone with my views be welcomed in the Church as an equal participant? Not as in, “Of course a person can be wrong and still come to church or be a member” but as in, “You and I may disagree but I think your views have as much validity as mine, and this Church welcomes thoughtful discussion and debate?”
    Stacy
    August, 26 2011

    While I love to see members of the body of Christ in politics, just because one is a member of the Lord’s church does not mean they are on the right side of moral issues. One is either FOR gay marriage and abortion or AGAINST it. There is no middle ground. And if she favors legalization of either or both, that is disappointing in my view on the part of any Christian.
    Dale
    August, 26 2011

    Some are wondering, “Why do abortion and gay marriage swamp other issues?” Well, how many cities or nations to you know of that God destroyed with fire and brimstone because of education and climate change? The fifty-million-plus human beings who have been obliterated via abortion will not be able to do a thing about global warming or education. I doubt that you have any opposition to laws against murder (of born people, that is), so why support a Supreme Court ruling that struck down laws which previously protected the lives of the most vulnerable people (the unborn)?
    Joe
    August, 26 2011

    “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it;” not someone who belongs to the same denomination as I do.
    Alan Coughlin
    August, 26 2011

    The subject of the article is that a member of the church has been elected to Congress. The article is news. The comments then largely concern the member�s positions on issues likely to be debated in Congress. The comments are editorials.
    My first encounter with Janice Hahn came during her student days at Abilene Christian College. She was a bright, vivacious, and service-oriented person–one, like Ted Poe, not easily forgotten.
    At the time almost everybody around was a Democrat. Over the years, many people in the churches changed (especially in Texas). Janice didn�t. In the meantime she has lost elections and won elections. An admirable trait is that she, like Winston Churchill, never, never, never, never gives up.
    Individuals inevitably have to wrestle with dilemmas between conscience and job. It�s an important theme in John Kennedy�s PROFILES IN COURAGE or Dietrich Bonhoeffer�s COST OF DISCIPLESHIP. One cost Janice has paid is that she went away from Congress to attend the assembling of the saints together. If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
    As a clarification, she is the first woman elected from among the fellowship IN THE CURRENT CONGRESSIONAL SESSION. The first such woman historically was Marilyn Lloyd (D-TN), who represented the Chattanooga district from 1975 to 1995.
    David Ramsey
    August, 26 2011

    Those who claim to be Christian should recognize that their continuing efforts to follow Christ ought to be their highest priority. There are several unambiguous commands, many parables with clear lessons, and other pronouncements with unmistakable teachings. Following Jesus involves attitude and action. Those who limit their obedience to conversion fail to grasp the second part of the Great Commission.
    Theo-political activists want to change our government�s public policies to reflect their religious views. The Republican Party has successfully used two such emotional issues to gain power. Some religious voters appear to give more importance to advocating wedge issues than to obeying Christ. Aside from those that deal with the ancient nation-state of Israel, a theocracy combining God and government, few scriptures discuss government. I�m willing to discuss those specific verses: [email protected]
    The prince of this world, Satan, tries to deceive or distract those who would follow Christ, those who would try to learn to obey all that he commanded. An �obedience of faith� makes serious demands of a disciple�s �heart, soul, strength, and mind.� Deciding how to spend your time in one way means that you�ve decided not to spend it any other way, a concept economists call opportunity cost. Thus, trying to influence government policy can seriously jeopardize a believer�s own spiritual development agenda.
    Charles Stelding makes sense to me when he notes that the Bible teaches against divorce and then says that current secular laws don�t criminalize divorce in spite of what God says about it.
    Mike Clemens
    August, 26 2011

    Many of the comments are well thought out, except a few think that Christians MUST be Republicans. I find it interesting that Pres. Obama thought that he could come together with Republicans and agree on reducing the rates of unwanted pregnancies (that often lead to abortion). In fact in one of his first bills proposed he earmarked some measures that would do just that – reduce the rates of abortion. And that measure was the first thing the Republicans demanded to be removed from the bill. Republicans have shown absolutely no interest in reducing these rates. I do not believe they want the issue to go away. By “using” this issue politically, they have been elected now for over 31 years. No, it is clear they want the issue to stay around, maybe muddle around it a little, but they want to be able to bring up this election-year, back burner issue every election.
    I wish Rep. Hahn all the best. I believe she will serve our country well.
    Harold Williams
    August, 26 2011

    Thanks to all of you who can discuss politics and religion and think about the rights of all Americans. I am pleased. I’m a Christian who is also a Democrat. I have a bumper sticker that says GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. I am distressed by the ongoing wars and misuse of the earth’s resources for a very few to get super wealthy while half the country is destitute. Think about it. Hurray for Rep. Hahn!
    Best,
    Marge Wood, Abilene Christian College class of 1961
    Marge Wood
    August, 26 2011

    This has been interesting. I lately became a democrat when I saw that they were the only ones interested in helping the poor and downtrodden, as did Jesus. I have also noticed that as science helps us to see things as they are, I have had to realize that some of the biblical writers might have been good, but not really “inspired”. It has been proven that homosexuals cannot help their feelings. Science has shown that even their brains are formed differently. Do we really think anyone would choose to be a homosexual?
    Thank you, rep. Hahn, for going to the only party that has a real interest in giving of our money and abilities to help those in need. God bless you!
    Mel
    August, 26 2011

    I am not an American nor do I live in the US. But I am a Filipino and I live in the Philippines whose government is copycat of the US government. Truth to tell many issues in government are common to the two countries. We have no law on divorce but there are now some advocates of divorce becoming legal. Yes, abortion and gay marriage are now issues, too. While I believe that the power to govern comes from God, I also believe that my allegiance to government cannot come ahead of my allegiance to God. As a Christian and a member of the body of Christ, I advocate obedience to Christ first and foremost. As such, in any issue I stand squarely on what the Bible says. God help us to contend for the faith be it in Congress or in any arena but most importantly in our daily lives.
    Felix Garlitos
    August, 27 2011

    Responding to Mike Clemens’ conclusion that Christians have no business influence government policy and laws is unfortunate. Of course Christians ought to want government policy to reflect their “religious views”. What’s the alternative? A government that affects peoples lives with secular ideas, values, and laws? Christians ought to know that God’s design for life is better than any other way of life.
    Since we are fortunate to live in a democratic system, we have a voice…an influence on the policies and laws that impact millions of people. To not consider influencing Government for the benefit of people is to squander a gift from God. To say that it’s ok to express your faith in only a part of life is a most peculiar viewpoint. To say that your faith must stop at the steps of Government is a very small view of God and the Christian walk.
    The poster said that following Jesus involves action and attitude. That’s exactly right…and I don’t think God intends for there to be any exceptions in who or what are to be influenced by those actions and attitudes.
    Tom
    August, 27 2011

    I agree with Tom about voting with Scripture and seeking to influence our government.
    In keeping with that, I vote as pro-life as possible every election. Otherwise, I am generally politically libertarian. I believe that there is no salvation for man in government forcing men to live more Christian lives. On the other hand, a libertarian country leaves Christians the most free to bring people to Christ and to worship without interference from the law.
    B
    August, 29 2011

    Let us remember, though, that God has chosen to do His work in the world through the church, not through the government. While I’m all for being politically involved, we should primarily focus our energies on reaching the lost and helping those in need through the church, as Jesus established it for that purpose.
    James
    August, 29 2011

    James, could it be that God has chosen to do His Work in the world through me, and through you? You and I (personally) are God’s hands and feet in this world. The church is the gather of God’s people for the purpose of encouraging, comforting, and edifying each other (not the world directly). The church is not a political organization intended to wield political power in the world. We are a brotherhood with a new identity. The questions is how do we live out our faith in the world (without being of the world) in a way that bring glory and honor to God? That is our challenge.
    To everyone commenting here, Mike Clemens, who posted above, is a brother of ours and is my friend. He and I have discussed the issues revealed in this thread many times. Contrary to Mike’s implied position, I think is appropriate for a brother or sister be in a political occupation IF (and it is a big if) God has called them and equip them for that purpose. It takes a special person to be a politician and maintain their faith and integrity AND to be competent working in political office. Unfortunately, there are many who have passed the apparent abortion/gay marriage litmus test, but have failed miserably on the issues of faith, integrity, and competency.
    This gets to Mike’s larger point. Until we can first live the way Jesus lived, love the way Jesus loved, conduct ourselves honestly the way Jesus was honest, be compassionate the way Jesus was compassionate, forgive the way Jesus forgive, and see the value of a person underneath the sinful exterior, then we have no business being in politics or engaging in public political discussion. Otherwise, we run the risk of forgetting that it is only the power of Jesus to save and to heal the sinful heart, not the power of a secular government and not the power of the church collective.
    Much God-dishonoring damage has been done by our brothers and sisters who, in the name of Christ, have demoralized, demonized, slandered, rejected, insulted, and killed those for whom Jesus gave his very life. Let’s make sure we all hold Jesus higher that we hold our personal opinions and convictions. May God have mercy on us all.
    Kevin Henderson
    August, 29 2011

    To James I say that the church is nothing more than believers in Jesus Christ that have yielded their will to His and accept His sacrifice for themselves so that they have reconciled themselves to God. With that in mind, believers seek to do God’s will…not a part of it, not just seeking and saving the lost but to live on this planet the way God intended. God’s way is beautiful and it is intended for everyone whether a person believes or not.
    So where the heart has grown cold, the last line of protection for the defenseless is civil law. We as Christians are bound to do what’s right and, where there is an opportunity to advance the protection of the innocent and amplify the beauty of God’s will in terms of morality and righteousness, we have an obligation to do so. In this country, one of God’s many gifts to us is to have a voice – even if nothing more than a vote – in the system of laws that all Americans live under. If we choose to leave the bible out of the voting booth…or our minds and hearts out of the voting booth, clearly we have placed limits on God’s will that He has not done.
    To Kevin Henderson’s comments, yes, some believers have left some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit at home before they ventured into the public square….but I would also say that if we choose to be silent while the innocent die or refuse to consider the make-up of our system of government in terms of what is honored and what is dishonored, than I would say that the dishonoring and sullied ambassadorship has fallen squarely in our laps.
    Tom
    August, 29 2011

    Find me an example of Jesus, his disciples, or the New Testament church seeking to change the world through the government or its laws. I doubt you will find a good example. Rather, you will find the church growing by loving each other, taking care of each other, preaching the gospel, showing unity to the world, etc. These are our callings. This does not mean that seeking to influence government is wrong, by any means. But we are mistaken if we think that the government and its laws are the engine of true spiritual change. That comes from each of us living like Christ and living like Christ as a community. And that community is the church, God’s chosen instrument to reach the world. Too many of us — on both sides — think the spiritual battle is fought in statehouses and capitol buildings. It is not. It is fought in hearts and minds.
    James
    August, 30 2011

    To clarify and supplement my earlier post, not all voters are activists. Any qualified American citizen may vote individually, though privately, to decide elections. If enough voters cast countable ballots in favor of a particular proposition, it becomes law. More often, elected representatives shape public policy. Thus, knowing the character, qualifications, and political opinions of each candidate remains vital.
    An activist vigorously persuades others to support policies that they publicly advocate. Theo-political advocacy, along with a broad coalition, resulted in the 18th and later the 21st Amendments to the US Constitution. Comprehensive historical accounts about the prohibition of beverage alcohol ironically note that organized crime thrived while public morality diminished during the �Roaring Twenties.�
    Advocacy groups try to manipulate voters into supporting a certain position often without full disclosure of their complete agenda or eventual outcome of their approach. European and US history illustrate Christendom�s repeated use for substantially political purposes; such orchestrations are nothing new.
    At the outset of this blog discussion, two �Litmus Test� issues were raised after an article about newly elected Rep. Hahn, a public figure whose views are now fair game for informed discussion. The broader policy topic is just how political use of those two �wedge� issues impact America�s overall well-being.
    All other things being equal, it�s logical to expect that religious voters would support candidates who say they share the same beliefs. But, what defines the issues that frame public policy debate and how might society be changed for the better? Did the Women�s Christian Temperance Union help or hurt America?
    Republican tax cuts benefit Wall Street much more than Main Street. Wealth is becoming ever more concentrated in the �pockets� of the super-rich. Corporate interests can now spend without limits to influence elections, while some of our poorest soon won�t be able to vote. What will that do to the USA?
    The epistles echo Jesus�s warning about idolatry � the love of money � and reiterate God�s interest in caring for the poor. When presumably well-intentioned, but strategically selective, theo-political activists pick out which Biblical issues to emphasize, they don�t always acknowledge the other Biblical topics they ignore. When teachings emphasized by Jesus are marginalized, that�s �Majoring in Minors.�
    At the end of Matthew 25, God�s son is explicit about judgment � it�ll be about behavior, not ballot box beliefs. If I could persuade believers of anything, it�d be for them to continue becoming more like Jesus. He lived in a politically oppressive culture and didn�t direct his followers to actively change society. But, private piety transforms public actions. Racist Christian ought to be a fictional oxy*****. Sadly, it isn�t.
    For those believers who put their private lives under the public microscope to serve as elected officials, I can only offer my thanks and best wishes as they serve society with their giftedness. While some criticize Christians as being subject to religious hierarchy � their church doctrines � I urge only that those elected do their best to consider all of Christ�s teachings in the complex public policy arena they inhabit.
    Mike Clemens
    September, 1 2011

    I happen to be a democrat, and for that reason I will congratulate Janice. I also happen to attend a COC congregation, but I would not base my support for or opposition to any candidate based on the fact that they go to a COC. Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and most other denominations do not feel the need to support someone simply b/c they are a member of their religious group. For some reason, COC members feel the need to either support a candidate b/c they are in the COC, or strongly condemn them b/c the candidate from the COC has the audacity to disagree with the prevailing political views held by most COC members. Why is this?
    Jeff Cisco
    September, 3 2011

    Wow, so many comments on this story. So few on others. It’s a sad commentary that what most gets our attention are political issues, and so we show our division as though that’s who we are, too. We don’t have to agree on everything — they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
    MSnyder
    September, 3 2011

    Dear Jeff….I never heard any of our members (i.e. at a Church of Christ) support or oppose a candidate (including Janice Hahn) because of church membership. I don’t see that inclination reflected in any of the posted comments here or in the article itself. Do you see evidence of such elsewhere? I agree wholeheartedly with you….I would not vote for or against candidates based on church affiliation. Still ,it is fair fodder for church “news”, which is what the Christian Chronicle is all about.
    Dan
    September, 3 2011

    Dan, I certainly agree that this is a fair story for the Chronicle to report. My point is that there always seems to be a lot of emphasis within the church on the candidates that are members. It’s not always positive emphasis. The posts about Janice, for example, seem to be more negative, given her political views and the fact that she’s a democrat.
    Jeff Cisco
    September, 4 2011

    GOD is GOD he is in control and does not need to run for office, that is why he is not a member of a politcal party. No republican believes he is, so the democrat that throws that accusation against a brother is not showing brotherly love to that Christian that is republican. Love one another. You must love the person that is living in sin, homosexual acts, declaring marriage between people of the same sex and abortion. And part of that love is teaching them GOD’s instruction to mankind. To save them from condemnation in the judgement day and the fires of hell for eternity. Now does anyone here know about Sodom & Gomorrah and GOD’s condemation of abortion both in the history of GOD’s dealings with his creation? GOD does not change in what he hates and he did not change his command in the revelation of the Holy Spirit under the New Testament Of Jesus Christ. Everyone that walks disorderly must be punished for their soul’s sake. 2 Thess. 3 & 1 Cor & 2 Cor 2:6 “Let it be enough for such a man to have undergone the punishment which the church put on him;” The result cam be the return of the sinner to Christ as in 2 Corinthians. Pray for Janice and the congregation of the Lord’s Church in Redondo Beach.
    Richard Archer
    September, 27 2011

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