Restoring the Voice of the People
The United Church of Christ's Our Faith Our Vote Campaign is designed to engage the progressive faith community in elections. We engage participants in voter registration drives and candidate forums that get to the heart of the issues we care about.
Discerning the role of the church in politics has been a historically strong part of the UCC and our predecessor bodies. UCC General Synod resolutions and policy statements have spoken to the qualifications for the Office of the President of the U.S. (1960); ethics in public life and conflicts of interest among public office holders (1967) lobbyist disclosure (1977), and of course, a myriad of public issues that are decided on by elected officials at the local, state and national levels.
Our Faith Our Vote work is being done across the U.S., as churches seek to faithfully respond to the call of a God who is still speaking.
Words of Inspiration: A letter of introduction
For people of faith, the public arena we know as “politics” is much more than you see on the news. It is the forum through which we live out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Scripture reminds us over and over that building right relationship in human community and with God’s creation is inseparable from our relationship to God. Through just public policy decision making we can order our common life in a way that is faithful to our relationship with God.
So it is appropriate for faith communities to engage in nonpartisan voter education and empowerment programs that help us reflect on our collective life and the common good through the political process. Indeed, to do so is to be faithful to our call to be in the world. When we wonder whether we should be part of the election process, we need only remember the witness of Jesus challenging the powers and principalities in search of justice for the “least of these”
These are difficult and challenging times for our local communities, our country and the world. Divisive and heated rhetoric dominates the airwaves and the public dialogue. Meanwhile, the power of money is shutting out the voice of the average citizen and undermining the democratic process. As a result, many people are withdrawing from engagement in the political process out of a growing sense of cynicism, distrust, and lack of hope. We face an uphill struggle in efforts to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, but the stakes are as high as they have ever been.
Now, more than ever, your voice and your efforts are needed. As people of faith, we can play a unique role in this election cycle, by encouraging civil, respectful dialogue that builds community and a hope-filled vision of the future that includes all people. We can help to restore the soul of democracy.
The Our Faith Our Vote resource provides information and ideas to assist individuals and congregations in developing appropriate and meaningful ways to engage the political and electoral process as people faith. Congregations can engage in a variety of nonpartisan programs such as conducting voter registration and voter participation drives, holding candidate forums and attending town hall meetings, organizing issue education opportunities, and protecting the voting rights of all.
The need to equip ourselves and our communities to make informed, thoughtful decisions about those who will lead us in the future is great. It is our fervent hope that you will connect with members of your local church and community this year through the Our Faith Our Vote campaign.
Your vote is your voice – and every voice makes a difference!
Courage in the struggle,
Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo
UCC Justice and Witness Ministers