The Urgent Need to Lift our Voice in Our Elections

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
but when the wicked rule, the people groan. -Proverbs 29:2 (NRSV)

 

Scripture compels us to an increasing affirmation of the dignity and value of every human, all of whom share the “image of God.” This reflection includes mutual support and empowerment of each individual and voice. Exercising and defending every person’s right to vote is an essential embodiment of this Scriptural ethic that is shared by Christians and others. As faith leaders, we seek opportunities in the public square to embody and protect this scriptural mandate. We view exercising and defending every person’s right and responsibility to vote as a way of lifting up the full image of God.

As representatives of 38 Christian churches and communions, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) transcends partisan divides and encourages all candidates to support values that affirm our shared human dignity. In this election season, we call on every member denomination to urge their congregations to vote and to engage in voter education and election protection efforts leading up to November 6th and beyond.

The United States today faces an election of uncommon consequence. Truly, our nation is at a crossroads with decisions being made each day that impact the most vulnerable in our society–those who we are called by God to serve. As a nation and global community, we are at a tipping point on multiple critical issues that will impact our nation and the world for generations to come. Our healthcare and education systems do not provide equal quality for all. Our criminal justice system remains broken and unjust. Human rights and international institutions like the United Nations are being undermined and underfunded while global tensions are on the rise. Human-made climate change must be addressed now before irreparable damage is done to our planet, jeopardizing our shared future.

When people do not exercise their right to vote, our democracy can decay. When we do not vote, we miss an opportunity to create a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” To the extent that state and local governments unjustly disqualify or suppress the votes of any citizen — especially because of skin color, ethnicity, age, ability, past record, economic means, or other reasons — the worth of individuals is eroded and the democratic ideals in our Constitution are undermined and our common life suffers.

No election will solve all problems, but consistent voting is the ongoing participation in a process that inherently values the voice and dignity of each person. It is a faithful Christian practice. It includes and supports those on the margins. It promotes the health, prosperity, and continuity of our nation. It is a reflection of how our civic and religious lives are intrinsically entwined. By exercising our responsibility to vote we faithfully live out our call to love our neighbor. For all of these reasons and more, the NCC calls on its member denominations to urge congregations to vote, to support others in voting, and to call on state and local governments to facilitate the unobstructed voting of all citizens on November 6th.

People of faith must not sit and wait — out of complacency, apathy, or frustration over current political divisions or unprecedented money flowing into elections. We must assert our voice to ensure that corporate interests do not outweigh the voice of the public and see that the common good is upheld by those in office. If we are to build a future in which every person can thrive our voice is needed, every voice must be lifted. Every. Vote. Counts. This November 6th and every election is the time to lift our voice, all voices, and vote.

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