Mainstream Protestant Seminarian Political Courtship

I’ve had a post buzzing in my head for awhile now. When Michelle Bachmann was running (remember that?), she came out and announced that she had received the endorsement of “over 100 pastors” (or something like that). At the time I heard that, I was a little hurt. I was wondering where the love for me was. In my mind, I envisioned her actively seeking out those pastors for their endorsement and political capital. She courted them. She reached out to them. She tried to be THEIR candidate. I’ve watched The West Wing, I know what politicans-on-tv do. What about me then? When is a politician going to actively reach out and court my vote? This Hispanic New Yorker Mainstream Protestant Seminarian must count for something – right? I’m here people! Come talk to me!

That thought came up again over the weekend when I heard that conservative “evangelicals” endorsed Santorum. Sure, after the endorsement, the community came out and argued that the endorsement wasn’t universal and that the community is not aligned behind any candidate – but it sounded nice. Obviously, the religious right has spent a lot of theological capital and time developing a political movement that doesn’t, necessarily, line up with my mainstream protestant background and because of that, their endorsement of a candidate makes sense. But, still, it would be nice to be courted. I have yet to see a volunteer from any campaign appearing on my seminary campus. I have yet to be cold called by any political community trying to convince me to their point of view. And it seems that my status as an intern in a church doesn’t give me much political capital for any politician to reach out to me.

It’s like I’m a regular citizen or something and I have to be like everyone else. Egads. That can’t be right, can it? /sacrasm

Even though I’m currently not being courted by any candidate, I have been thinking about politics and politicians. I know, well, at least I think I know, that politicians know about the church I intern at. But I don’t know how big of a deal the church is in their field of vision (nor do I know how big the church wants to be). From the experience of my home congregation, I know that having political connections can be beneficial in the nuts and bolts kind of way (grants to repair buildings, fund food programs, ability to organize special emergency fundraising events – i.e. social gospel kinds of things). Maybe…just maybe…I’ll spend some time next year at my full time internship learning HOW to connect with the local politicians. It’s something I don’t know how to do and it’s probably something I’m going to have to do no matter where I end up.