And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.– Jesus Christ from Matthew 19;24
Watch that video above of Colorado state Rep Joe Miklosi announcing his candidacy for the congressional seat passed from Tom Tancredo to an even further right crackpot, Mike Coffman. When he ends it with “God bless you,” he means it. The first time I spoke with him, we spent more time talking about Jesus’ message than I’ve talked about with every other candidate Blue America has ever endorsed– not because we endorse people who don’t embrace Jesus’ message… just because it isn’t a topic progressives usually talk about publicly. But Joe isn’t “usual.” As his campaign motto says, “not your ordinary Joe.” Before I tell you what his favorite Bible verse is (the one above is one of mine), let me tell you how I met Joe.
Gloria Totten heads up Progressive Majority, an organization that does on the state legislature level what Blue America does on the congressional level. She told me about Joe months ago when he was considering running. “Joe is an outstanding progressive who has stood firm on the progressive issues we care most about,” she told me. “He is a proven leader who is committed to building our movement for the future– as Progressive Majority’s Colorado state director, Joe helped 60 progressives win state and local office. We were proud to support Joe in his bid for the State House and I’m thrilled to back his campaign for the U.S. Congress. Trust me, Washington, DC needs more public servants like Joe– smart, energetic, committed and passionate for the people.”
For the people… and more. This is one of Joe’s favorite Bible verses. It comes from the prophet Micah who Christ quoted when asked what does the Lord require of you? You probably don’t hear many on the “religious” right espousing this one:
To love justice, to seek mercy, and to walk humbly with the Lord.
Joe is perfectly comfortable talking about messages from Jesus like that– even if conservatives (see my favorite Bible verse up top) have tried to coopt Jesus for their ideology of selfishness and bigotry, greed and hatred. “This theme,” Joe told me this week, “has motivated me to pursue public policy that is more fair and just for every person. It clarifies, for example, my stance to repeal the unjust ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law because all people should be able to serve in the United States military regardless of how they were born. The aspiration toward these goals helped to inspire my sponsorship of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act beneficiaries are good kids, who play by the rules, earn good grades point averages and want to contribute to our society. By creating educational and workforce development opportunities for students we can energize and empower individuals and families and grow our economy for all Americans.”
Who would Jesus kill? Joe doesn’t seem to find Jesus wanting to kill anyone. “I oppose the death penalty because we can do better as a society,” he said. “We have killed innocent people as DNA testing has verified. We disproportionately kill people from communities of color, as the U.S. Supreme Court recently confirmed. A person rightfully convicted of murder or heinous act should spend the rest of their life in prison.”
Prison is pretty horrible. But our business elites have behaved (badly) knowing full well that the chances that they— regardless of what they do– aren’t likely to spend much time there. So what about Wall Street? What about OccupyWallStreet. I asked Joe what he thinks about the whole movement. His response:
“In regard to Wall Street and economic reform, I respect those that take peaceful action to advocate for an economy that rewards hard work, encourages innovation and investment in education, retools Americans, and produces livable wages.
“We can not allow Wall Street elitists to break the rules, change the rules, and keep moving the goalpost, away from hard working families. Because of Wall Street greed and arrogance in 2008, millions of families were robbed of the dreams they worked and saved for, our nation was hobbled, and the Wall Street crowd sauntered into Washington to rewrite the rules again– to give themselves a bailout. That’s not thrift, it’s theft.
“It is amazing to see so many inspired people– from and for various points of view– advocating for change and a fair financial system.”
We’re going to have Joe over in the comments section (below) today at noon (Mountain Time, 11am here in L.A.) to talk about his campaign and why he’s running for Congress. I hope you’ll join us. And I hope I’ve presented Joe attractively enough so that you’d like to help him beat that crackpot Coffman. You can do that here on the Blue America page.