[The following is a "letter to the editor," published (here) by Baptist News Global on Oc. 30 and is posted here as an "extra" blog article because of the significance of the Nov. 6 election.]
In his opinion article published Oct. 26 on baptistnews.com, Jonathan Frank contends that “today’s Vote Common Good is much like yesterday’s Moral Majority.” Having attended a Vote Common Good “rally” and written a blog article about Vote Common Good, I must say, Sorry, Jonathan, but they’re not the same at all.
Further, having written a book on Christian fundamentalism, I have also spent considerable time seeking to understand the thinking and actions of the late Jerry Falwell, the primary power behind the formation of the Moral Majority. In reviewing Falwell’s activities and pronouncements in 1979 and the years following, again I must declare, Sorry, Jonathan, but the Moral Majority and the Vote Common Good movements are definitely not moral equivalents.
Vote Common Good is focused on one limited goal: flipping the control of Congress in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. This goal is rooted primarily in their strong opposition to the character and policies of President Trump and the almost unanimous support he has received from the Republican-controlled Senate and House.
At the rally I attended, Frank Schaffer declared that he is not trying to make Democrats out of Republicans and he is not saying how people ought to vote in future elections. He is merely emphasizing the critical nature of the current political situation in Washington and the need for there to be some check on the erratic and unchristian statements and policies of the President. That check depends on Congress being “flipped,” and that is what Vote Common Good is seeking to do. It is an ad hoc response to a current crisis in government.
Jonathan asserts that the “clear mission” of Vote Common Good is to “urge Christians to vote for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.” No, Jonathan, that is not what their declared mission is: it is only to flip Congress – and by that they mean primarily the House of Representatives. The only political candidate mentioned in the Kansas rally I attended was the challenger to Rep. Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District of Kansas.
Jonathan says that Vote Common Good is urging voters to oppose the GOP. Well, yes and no. They are certainly urging voters to oppose the GOP candidates for the House because of the need to have some check on the President. But that is the only GOP opposition that I have heard or read from them.
Jonathan complains the Vote Common Good group is rejecting praiseworthy Representatives such as Kathy McMorris-Rogers of Washington and Ann Wagner of Missouri. Yes, no doubt Rep. McMorris-Rogers and Rep. Wagner have done many good things and are decent people. But they are also quite loyal to President Trump. Consider, for example, their questionable support of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Near the end of his article Jonathan avers that Vote Common Good attempts “to shoehorn faith into the mold of a political party, instead of letting our faith be the mold through which we reach our political decisions.” To the contrary, Vote Common Good speakers such as Schaffer (whom I heard), Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, and Brian McLaren are urging people to Vote Common Good because of their Christian faith and their firm commitment to the teachings of Jesus – not because they are Democrats.
These are just some of the reasons for this rebuttal to Jonathan Frank’s article. Today’s Vote Common Good is considerably unlike yesterday’s Moral Majority and it has a message Christians of all stripes need to consider seriously in these days before the midterm elections.