These days, it can probably seem like most people identifying as “Christians” have gone crazy. If you’re anything like me, when you see the percentage of people (especially white people) calling themselves “Christians” while continuing to support an objectively ANTI-JESUS person like our current president, it probably makes you want to leave the word “Christian” behind you forever…
But I promise you there are many people out there who are running for office out of a deep desire to “follow” — to be like — Jesus… And to “be the change” they want to see in the world. So I am doing something that I don’t normally do: I am profiling one of those people. Her name is Geneviéve Jones-Wright, and she is running for District Attorney in San Diego County. I asked her four questions, and I’m publishing her answers here — Not just so my readers in the San Diego area will vote for her… But so you, dear reader, can read her answers, be inspired, be reminded that every person calling herself a Christian has not lost her damn mind, and maybe even consider running for office yourself. We need more good people (who actually want to help) involved in government. Anyway, here are the questions and Geneviéve’s answers (I have taken the liberty of highlighting some of the things she said by putting them in bold typeface):
1) Why did you decide to run for office?
The need for change. I have lived “be the change you would like to see in the world” since childhood. I have always been a person who creates things that aren’t in existence because I felt that they should be. My best friends and I started a non-profit mentorship organization in San Diego for young girls from inner-city communities because there wasn’t anything like it at the time. I knew the value of mentorship in my own life so I created what was necessary for young girls who had similar upbringings.
And so it is the same here with my decision to run for District Attorney: I am making a pathway for the change I want to see. I am being that change. No more complaining. There is so much change that needs to happen within our criminal justice system and it will only happen when a person with my life and work experience, values, and perspective takes the reins.
2) What are you passionate about changing?
I am extremely passionate about our children. There is a lot of lip service about how our children are the future, yet we set up a vast majority of our children of color for institutionalization. We remove them from school when they are troublesome or because they have a lapse in judgment (which is what kids will do from time and time), and set them on a path that starts with incarceration in our juvenile facilities. This leads to incarceration in our jails and ultimately our prisons. We have to stop the school-to-prison pipeline.
In general, I am passionate about People. God gave me a heart for people. Early on I knew that I would become an attorney so that I could use the law as a tool to help marginalized groups. Right now, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are criminalized in our county. This is unconscionable; so I am very passionate about creating a system that treats our homeless, mentally ill, and addicted with dignity and also about stopping the fueling of the mass incarceration machine in general.
3) How does your faith influence your political beliefs and your understanding of policy?
My faith informs every part of who I am–how I see the world and myself, what I believe, and my decision-making. One basic tenet of the Christian faith is that God is just. In Jeremiah 22:3, the Lord commands us to “[d]o what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Again, in Isaiah 1:17, we are told to “[l]earn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
From the very teachings of the Holy Bible we see that we are to do what is right and to seek justice, especially standing up for the marginalized.
When I see budget cuts to programs that help seniors, middle class families, the working poor, and the most vulnerable in our country, it saddens me. I believe that Equity is a Christian value. I also believe that building an economy that lifts up all Americans and not just those on top is rooted in Biblical teachings. The very foundation of my political beliefs is that we are greater together and that our country succeeds only when everyone–regardless of national origin, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation–has a fair chance at a life of quality, gets their fair share, and adheres to the same rules.
4) What advice do you have for other people who love Jesus, but find themselves disgusted with the evangelical support of Trump, while being pulled toward a more progressive political worldview?
Personally speaking, it has been disappointing to see the evangelical support of Trump as his outward behavior and speech do not espouse Christian values. Christ did not mock the afflicted — He healed lame men. Christ did not engage in repulsive behavior — He led a life completely above reproach. And we are to strive to do the same. To be a Christian means to emulate Jesus Christ by the very way we live. So, I first say that I understand.
My advice to believers who find themselves disheartened in this situation, I echo Paul’s urging in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 that we pray for our leaders. Leaders owe a great deal of responsibility to their followers and to God. This is not to be taken lightly. Our responsibility to them, in turn, is to pray for their wisdom and ask God to guide them in their decision-making. The same passage tells us that we are to pray for “all those in authority.” So, prayers for our leaders are not reserved for those who are saved. We are to pray for all leaders, those righteous and unrighteous. This makes sense. As believers we are to pray that all come to salvation and to the truth of Christ. This means that for our leaders who are far from Christ, we must first pray for their salvation. Then, we are to pray that God move in their hearts and guide them in their decision-making. The scripture says we do this so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
As Christians, we all have the duty to speak the truth from the Word of God and take a stand for righteousness for God’s sake. As leaders, Evangelical ministers have a duty to teach the Word of God and be examples of godliness. I encourage believers to simply do what is right to do by the teachings of Christ despite even the actions of leaders. Leaders are human, and humans get it wrong sometimes. This is why we are to follow Christ and not man. It is then critical to know that, even in our country, to follow Christ is to expect ridicule and even persecution. So, if that means that we will be persecuted for Christ’s sake, then that is what we must endure because that is what we are called to do. Never be afraid to stand for Christ and speak His truths no matter who you are up against.
So there you have it. A Woman… A Person Of Color… A Christian… And a strong Advocate for Justice, for Change, and for the Oppressed and the Marginalized… Thank you, Geneviéve Jones-Wright, for bringing me a much needed glimmer of hope today. Also, if you’d like to contribute to her campaign, you can do that RIGHT HERE.