I vote because I am a citizen. Yes, I am a citizen of the United States and I take civic responsibilities seriously. More importantly, however, I am a citizen of God’s realm; as such I am called to live out my faith in the public arena. This means casting my vote not out of economic self-interest, but for the sake of all of God’s people and all of creation, and especially on behalf of the vulnerable and powerless.
I vote because of a little Palestinian girl named Siham in East Jerusalem who my wife and I sponsor through Global Ministries’ Child Sponsorship program. Siham’s future and the prospects for peace in the Middle East will be deeply impacted by U.S. foreign policy. Siham cannot hold our nation’s leadership accountable, but we can.
I vote because I live in Cleveland, Ohio, a city where 44 out of every 100 adults over the age of 16 lack basic literacy skills. They cannot read a bus schedule, or write a letter explaining a credit card billing error. Through elections we both demand better educational systems and we support them.
I vote because 15% of households in the wealthiest country on earth lack food security. At some point in the past year, they had insufficient nutritional food to lead healthy, active lives. While private generosity is good and necessary in addressing these needs, the structural inequities that underlie them are matters of public policy.
I vote because, as a former military chaplain, I know all too well the grief and trauma inflicted upon the innocent and suffered by veterans and their families during unjust and seemingly never-ending wars. On November 6th we will choose the next Commander-in-Chief.
I vote because the first eight months of 2012 were the hottest on record. South Pacific islanders are being swamped by rising sea levels due to global warming. The legislators we choose will decide on whether we take bold action, or continue on the path of environmental catastrophe.
I vote because nearly 50 million Americans lack health insurance, some of them are close friends and family members. Access to quality health care is not a privilege, it is a human right. The future of that access will be determined on Election Day.
I vote because I affirm marriage equality. In the land where the constitution guarantees equal protection to all citizens, same gender loving people are entitled to all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Elected officials and ballot measures are keys to attaining and maintaining marriage equality.
I vote because, while faith is intensely personal, it is never purely private. In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King chastised his contemporaries who were “. . . more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.” Faith that is nurtured in the church must be boldly lived out in the world. In a democracy, the ballot box is one place for us to live out that faith. Please join me in voting.
The United Church of Christ has 5,194 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.