Parents and Voting
My earliest recollection of church buildings is triggered by the colors and smells of autumn. I remember walking to the big, red church a couple blocks from our home in Evanston, Illinois, with my tall, long-legged mother, crunching through dry oak and elm tree leaves gathered in the gutters of the street and along the sidewalk.
I remember the smell of coffee and the buzz of bright white lights in the basement with the shiny linoleum floor. I remember the musty smell of the old curtains enclosing the voting booths, and the scent of freshly sharpened pencils. This was my first and only experience of a church building from my childhood. My parents, although raised as an Episcopalian and a Methodist, were not big fans of organized religion. They did not participate in a faith community with their young children, nor did they have us baptized.
But my parents did take their civic responsibilities very seriously and included their children in peace marches, conversations about the Nixon administration, advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment, and their opinions about elections. My parents continue to be advocates for human equality and preservation of the environment. They have always discussed politics with my sister and me, explaining the importance of exercising our right to vote and encouraging us to do so responsibly as informed voters. Clearly they have not always agreed with their own parents’ political choices, but they have respected their opinions and encouraged us to make up our minds for ourselves.
My husband and I have attempted to do the same for our children. We have always taken them with us to vote. We have always encouraged them to read about the candidates and issues present each election year. We have raised our sons as baptized Christians in the Episcopal Church. And when talking about the appropriate separation of church and state, we have also discussed the appropriateness of allowing our beliefs to influence our opinions and our actions in the voting booth.
We Skovs are big fans of the Anglican Marks of Mission as a framework for decision-making and action. Tomorrow we will specifically keep in mind the third, fourth, and fifth marks of mission as we vote: responding to human need in loving service, changing unjust structures, and preserving creation.
Our college student has already voted in his first Presidential Election, including two amendments proposed to Minnesota’s state constitution, utilizing an absentee ballot. The rest of us will go to the precinct in the morning together. I am so proud that my twenty-something Episcopalians vote.
I pray that you and your young adults do, too.
Filed under: Reflection