EAST OHIO VOTES
A Faith and Democracy Message from Bishop Malone
Voting is not only a right but a civic responsibility. Resolution 5012 of The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2016 states, “While declaring our ultimate allegiance is to God, Scripture recognizes that faithfulness to God requires political engagement by the people of God.” Voting can be an act of discipleship. Voting for policies and individuals that embody our shared values of beloved community, peace and justice is one way we give witness to our faith and engage our faith in the world to bring about God’s kingdom on earth as it in in heaven.
No matter the outcome of the election, let us remember that as disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to be front line workers in these unparalleled and uncertain times. We are called to continue to proclaim and to work for peace, justice and the welfare for all of God’s beloved children.
“The Wesleyan tradition has a long tradition of fighting for voting rights,” wrote Dr. Jessica M. Smith in the June 10, 2020 article “Free and Fair Elections for All” published by UMC Church & Society.
As outlined in the excerpt below, Civil and Human Rights and Free and Fair Elections for All are important social issues in The United Methodist Church.
“We understand as a general principle that every person is created in the image of God and is therefore of equal standing in society. Recognizing the inherent dignity of every person, United Methodists are committed to upholding human rights for all, including their social and political rights.
Free and fair elections are a pillar of democracy. They are determined in part through a commitment to the following principles:
“We hold governments responsible for the protection of the rights of the people to free and fair elections … The form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens.” (¶164.A, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016)
“We further assert the right of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic persons … to nondiscrimination in voting” including “access to public accommodations.” (¶162.A The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016)
Why be involved in this work?
“For me, it affirms the need for the church to work towards dismantling racist systems that keep voices suppressed and from having their right to vote be heard.” - Pastor Michael Farmer
What about the separation of church and state?
The United Methodist Church has long supported “the rightful and vital separation of church and state, which has served the cause of religious liberty.” Our United Methodist Social Principles also go on to say that this cause “should not be misconstrued as the abolition of all religious expression from public life.” (¶164.C The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016) In line with our Wesleyan heritage, we believe there is no holiness without social holiness. Individuals can be staunch supporters of the separation of church and state and, at the same time, be strong advocates for a more just and peaceful world.
Learn more about free and fair elections and our work as United Methodists by visiting www.umcjustice.org.
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