Restoring the Voice of the People
The United Church of Christ's Our Faith Our Vote Campaign is designed to engage the 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” represents much more than the partisan politicking we see on the news. It is a means by 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 an act inseparable from our relationship with God. So it is important for faith communities to engage in nonpartisan voter education and empowerment programs that help us reflect on our collective life and work to uplift the common good through the political process.
The 2016 election cycle has already stirred strong interest, concern and response across the United States, and indeed, throughout the world. That is not surprising, for these are difficult, complex and challenging times and there is much at stake as we head to the voting booth this November.
At the same time, we face great challenges to the democratic process itself. For the first time in 50 years, voters will go to the polls in November without key protectionscontained in the Voting Rights Act since a 2013 Supreme Court ruling significantly
rolled it back. And the disproportionate influence of money in campaigns threatens to drown out the voice of the average voter. An almost unprecedented level of divisive and heated rhetoric dominates the airwaves and the public dialogue. A substantive, thoughtful, respectful exchange across differences on the key issues of the day is becoming harder and harder to achieve. This is
precisely why our voice and efforts as people of faith are needed. We can play a unique role in this election cycles by encouraging civil, respectful, informed dialogue that builds community and a hope-filled vision of the future that includes all people. We can help restore the soul of democracy.
The UCC Our Faith Our Vote resource provides information and ideas to assist individuals and congregations in developing nonpartisan and meaningful ways to engage the political and electoral process. We must equip ourselves and our communities to make informed, thoughtful decisions about those who will lead us in the future. The Our Faith Our Vote campaign is one way to do just that, and we hope you will join this effort in 2016.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Traci Blackmon
Acting Executive Minister
UCC Justice and Witness Ministers