Last Sunday afternoon I drove over to a church in Overland Park, Kansas, and attended a meeting of a group touring the country under the name Vote Common Good (VCG). It was a very small, but quite interesting, meeting.
Introduction of VCG
“Evangelical Christians against Trump are trying to 'flip Congress' with bus tour ahead of midterm elections.” That is the title of an October 9 article in Newsweek (see here) that describes the activities of the Vote Common Good (VCG) group. (Their website is here.)
Led primarily by Doug Pagitt, the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis and a prominent emergent church leader, speakers at some of the VCG rallies also include such well known Christian authors as Shane Claiborne, Brian McLaren, and Frank Schaeffer.
The latter was at the meeting I attended on October 14, and I enjoyed hearing him and chatting a bit with him again. (My blog articles of 9/25/11 and 8/20/14, see here and here, were mostly about Schaeffer.)
Between October 2 and today (Oct. 20) VCG has held 17 rallies in ten different states. At least 12 more rallies, mostly in Texas and California, are scheduled between now and the midterm elections.
Appeal of VCG
In what seems to be a self-contradiction, VCG claims to be non-partisan while at the same time strenuously seeking to “flip” the control of Congress by electing Democratic candidates to the U.S. Congress.
As Schaeffer emphasized, they are not trying to make Democrats out of Republicans. Rather, they are just trying to get a Democratic Congress (or at least a Democratic House) to counter what they consider a President who is grossly acting in opposition to central Christian values.
They, most likely, agree with the October 12 Washington Post op-ed article by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): “How a Democratic House would check this erratic president.” Here is Schiff’s opening sentence:
Our democracy is broken, and President Trump is only one reason. Congress is the other. It has failed to serve as an equal branch of government, failed to play its essential role as a check and balance and, most glaringly, completely abdicated its oversight responsibilities.
Suggestion to VCG
There are some who agree with the activities of VCG but think they are being too overtly political. I share some of those feelings. That is why at the meeting I recommended to them, and to the pastor of the church where we met, that attention be given to the “Reclaiming Jesus” document, which was drafted on Ash Wednesday this year.
That document, which was produced by people such as Walter Brueggemann, Tony Campolo, Richard Rohr, and Jim Wallis, is well worth reading and taken seriously. (Here is the link to it—and, yes, there were also women and people of color who were part of the group that drafted it.)
There are pastors, and others, who wish to stay out of the political fray and who perhaps don’t want to be identified with VCG even though they may personally agree with what they are trying to do.
Use of the Reclaiming Jesus document is one good way to emphasize the values being promoted by VCG without overt political statements or identification. I am pleased with the way my pastor has done that over the past few weeks.
Since I am not an active pastor—or on anyone’s payroll—now, I am happy to identify with the work and the goals of Vote Common Good. Many knowledgeable people are saying that next month’s election is the most important midterm election of our lifetime—and they may well be right.
That is the reason to vote and to Vote Common Good!