Before You Vote – THINK AND PRAY!
The rhetoric of this political campaign continues to fill the radio, television, newspapers, and social media. The election of a president, vice president, members of Congress and members of state and local governments are important matters as one considers the future direction of the nation, and even to a certain extent, the future of the world. What do the words like love, justice, wholeness, spirituality, faith say in the current climate in our land?
With this writing I challenge you to consider these questions regarding the candidates at every level of our government. What does my faith say about these issues and where do the potential leaders stand on the issues? Then think and pray about your response and how you will mark your ballot.
We are in a time of climate change. Does your candidate acknowledge such?
Air pollution, impure water and toxic soil have all been issues in the world this year. Does your candidate vocalize ideas and plans to deal with these unhealthy conditions?
The battle over the use of coal, oil and other non-renewable energy resources continues with communities losing jobs, farm land being destroyed, etc. Does your candidate even talk about such? Do they support renewable energy sources?
Are your candidates willing to discuss with other communities, states or nations how all natural resources can be utilized in a manner that does not take from the poor or rob the future generations of their environmental heritage?
What are your candidates understanding of family and the issues associated with the “family” today? Do they include the realities of single parents; equality of marriage; sexual orientation differences; sexual abuse and exploitation; health issues of women including abortion and birth control; the right to die in dignity; elder care, etc. We may not agree on these issues, but even these issues must not be the only issue addressed by our candidates. Give careful thought to your own list of family values. Should yours or someone else’s be forced on others?
Does your candidate affirm the rights of religious minorities, children, youth and young adults, the aging, women, and persons with handicapping conditions? Do your candidates speak or act in a racist manner? Do they speak up for the rights of all persons including racial and cultural minorities?
What is your candidate’s position on collective bargaining, alleviation of poverty, welfare programs, health care, education and job training? Are they more concerned about people or profit? What about capital punishment?
Is your candidate more likely to go to war rather than use diplomatic channels and opportunities? Do your candidates speak of other countries with respect or hostility? Will they support a truly world community where all can live, work and love without fear and in a spirit of peace and justice?
Part of being a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ involves our standing firm on our beliefs and convictions as we cast our votes. May the decisions we each make be an expression of our faith and the values of love and justice for all God’s children.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.