Although Christian involvement in partisan politics has gained headlines nationally, other believers are just as active in nonpartisan arenas.

In Joliet, Illinois, a new coalition has embarked on one of the largest voter-registration campaigns of its kind in the nation.

Sponsored by Joliet Area Congregations-based Organized Body (JACOB), the recent training of 100 deputy registrars is the first of a three-part electoral action campaign that also includes voter education and voter turnout. JACOB, formed in 1990 with a handful of pastors, now involves two-dozen member churches in the Joliet area and an estimated 25,000 constituents.

But JACOB is unlike many Christian voter-turnout efforts in the 1990s, which more and more concentrate on targeting prohomosexual or pro-abortion rights candidates for defeat. JACOB's Electoral Action Campaign (EAC), an intensive effort to give a voice to those who have been marginalized in electoral politics, shows that nonpartisan political involvement by Christians is not dead. In an area with stubborn unemployment, growing gang activity, and a large high-school dropout rate, the functionally disenfranchised represent a large portion of the population. JACOB is reaching out to precisely the same type of people Jesus did.

"The EAC is not only about impacting the elections and community issues, but also about people of faith expanding the decision-making table to those who are currently disenfranchised," says JACOB organizer Don Floyd.

"The church as an institution has the values, the people, and the power to bring needed changes in our communities," says Floyd. "It's a concrete way to participate in the Lord's prayer."

JACOB's registrars have a go-anywhere attitude, working in stores, churches, school ...

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