Voting as a Christian duty is topic of Aug. 15 bulletin inserts

August 2, 2010

A major election will take place in November in the United States. Many voters may be tired of electioneering and increasingly frustrated by politics, but Lily Ickow, an intern for Episcopal Public Policy Network, suggests in ENS Weekly bulletin inserts for Aug. 15 that voting can be seen as an act of faith and a Christian duty, and that now is the time to register. "If we listen, and speak, and vote," Ickow writes, "we can choose the world we want, and choose leaders who will work with us to create it."

 

Take Action
Voting as a Christian duty

By Lily Ickow

In the midst of yet another election season, it is easy to find reasons not to pay attention, not to take action, and not to vote. We are all tired — tired of listening to promises made but never kept, tired of a barrage of ads, slogans, and speeches that never seem to tell us anything, tired of watching the world seemingly crumble around us. Most of all I think we're tired of feeling helpless and feeling hopeless.

And exhaustion can be a powerful emotion. It can stop us from taking chances, taking action, and taking initiative. When we get tired of all of the noise and the worries, it's easy to stop believing that any of it can ever change. What's hard is finding some way, no matter how tired, to believe that it can. What's hard is faith.

Faith challenges us in many ways — faith in Christ, faith in our governments, faith in ourselves — and they are all connected. We call ourselves people of faith, and believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe that service to the weakest and poorest among us is central to our faith and to following the lessons of Christ, and we strive to live everyday with faith in these lessons.

But faith is wider than this church, and wider than the work we do within it. Faith means believing in potential and possibility, and believing in ourselves to realize that potential. As we watch coverage of campaigns and elections year after year and feel inclined to give up on government, give up on the process, we're also giving up on ourselves, because the process doesn't work without us. We're giving up on our ability and our chance to stand up for what we believe in and fix what's broken. We're giving up on our own potential to make real the world for which Christ advocated.

Christ teaches us to work every day for a world that turns to compassion before hate, that chooses wisdom over ignorance, that seeks out hope over despair. And that work begins with each one of us, and it encompasses deeds both small and large. It hinges upon our faith, on our deep, sometimes improbable belief that things can be better if we take action to make them so.

This action is often neither simple nor clear. It involves study and reflection and discovery. It involves a conscious decision to choose what we want and work to make it happen. It involves believing that we each have the ability to take meaningful action, no matter how small. It can start as small as pulling a lever, pushing a button, or tapping a screen on Election Day.

Sometimes we're so tired of politics, tired of old schemes and empty dreams, that we forget what politics could be. Politics is about the potential of societies to do more, to be more. Politics is about faith. It is about believing in our collective ability to realize the world that Christ advocated for, but if we forget that element of believing, we lose our opportunity. If we don't believe in our ability to take action, if we don't believe in the hope that our government embodies, then we will be continually disappointed.

So before we find ourselves sitting through yet another election, let's start standing up and working for the world we want. Let's start believing in the possibility of Christ's vision here on earth and our own ability to realize that vision. Let's start having faith. If we listen, and speak, and vote, we can choose the world we want, and choose leaders who will work with us to create it.

-- Lily Ickow is an intern for Episcopal Public Policy Network.

Right now is the time to make sure you are registered to vote!

For more information visit the Episcopal Public Policy Network at www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn or the National Association of Secretaries of State at https://www.nass.org/can-i-vote.

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