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Editorial: Why, and how, we will talk about 2024 politics

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Those of us with a heritage in the Restoration Movement have a complicated relationship with politics and government.

We are, after all, from the lineage of David Lipscomb, who argued that Christians should eschew all things related to temporal citizenship, save obeying the law and living quietly and peaceably.

Related: Pursue justice rather than power

We are also heirs of generations of Christians who have performed nobly in local, state and national public service — elected and non-elected. Church members have served in the courthouse and statehouse, in the military and as election workers, police officers and disaster volunteers.

Churches of Christ typically don’t display flags behind our pulpits, but in many places we’ve opened our fellowship halls to serve as polling places. Our ministers traditionally refrain from endorsing candidates or party platforms, but they often preach about truth, justice, compassion for the poor, the imprisoned and the alien — or at least they should. Because Jesus did.

Some wish The Christian Chronicle would refrain from even acknowledging this election year. But ignoring the tumult ahead would be irresponsible.

“We do not imagine we will unite our readers politically. … We desire to unite our readers in the pursuit of truth.”

The Chronicle’s mission is to inform, inspire and unite. We do not imagine we will unite our readers politically. But we do intend to inform them about Christians who are involved in the elections ahead, whether as candidates or advocates. We hope to inspire readers to seek truth and reject conspiracy theories and other forms of falsehood. We desire to unite our readers in the pursuit of truth.

We are journalists. We are Christians. We cannot separate those two aspects of our identity any more than a physician who is a Christian can leave their faith outside the emergency room or their medical expertise outside the sanctuary. So we will do what we do with these goals in mind:

1. We will not endorse candidates. While endorsements are a time-honored tradition among American newspapers, they are no longer seen as essential to the editorial function, even in the secular press. We will not tell you who to vote for.

2. We will report the truth about individuals who are part of our fellowship, because all truth is God’s truth. And we can neither inform, inspire nor unite without first declaring allegiance to the truth in all its beauty and, at times, all its ugliness.

A sign at the Newnan Church of Christ in Georgia.

A sign at the Newnan Church of Christ in Georgia.

3. We will inform readers about issues and events Christians are directly involved in or that directly affect them. Churches and people of faith have always been part of the public square. They do not and should not control the marketplace of ideas, but their lives and practice are affected by it. We will inform readers with stories about that intersection.

4. We will not limit our coverage to any one party, candidate or viewpoint on the issues. First century churches were not clones of one another in culture or country. They counted among their members Jews, Gentiles, Romans, Greeks and members of every tribe and tongue.

So we can assume they did not see the issues of the day in their respective communities exactly alike. Yet they were the body of Christ. We are not offended nor surprised when Christians disagree.

Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Our social media and the reader response column of our print edition will, as always, be open to those who think otherwise. It will not be open to personal attack, slander or spreading falsehood.

We want to be disciples who are known for their love for one another. We want that for our readers as well. Especially in an election year. — Cheryl Mann Bacon, for the Editorial Board

Filed under: Editorial Elections faith and politics Opinion Top Stories truth

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