Presiding Bishop Curry encourages voting as “a Christian obligation”

“Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in a video election message.  “And that is a Christian obligation.  Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.”

The Presiding Bishop’s video election message is here. The video is closed-captioned and is subtitled in Spanish. The text of the Presiding Bishop’s message in English and Spanish is located at the end of this note.

The video is ideal for conversation, adult forums and group gatherings, Sunday School, youth groups, conventions, and meetings, etc.

Election Toolkit and resources
The Episcopal Church online toolkit with webpage outlines how individual Episcopalians and congregations can participate in the electoral process through nonpartisan activities. Among the possible non-partisan activities offered are: engaging young adults who are eligible to vote for the first time; hosting a candidate forum; advocating for voting rights legislation; and hosting Get Out The Vote campaigns. Through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN), information is also available on an important initiative, the Episcopal Pledge to Vote

• Election engagement resources, including the downloadable Episcopal Election Engagement Toolkit, are available here. 

• Bulletin inserts are available here.

• A Facebook/Twitter social media campaign highlighting: state-by-state registration deadlines; information on voting rights; ways to support civil discourse; and historical fun facts of Episcopal political engagement through the centuries of our country. Facebook here and Twitter here. 

• Hashtag #EpiscopaliansVote

The Presiding Bishop’s message in English follows:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Election Message

This November we will gather together as a nation to vote not only to elect a new president but to elect governmental leaders on a variety of levels. 

We are blessed.  We are blessed as a nation to be able to do so as citizens of this country.  This is a right, an obligation, and a duty.  And indeed the right and the privilege to be able to vote is something that was won through an American revolution.  Something that was won even more through civil rights and women’s suffrage.  A right and a privilege that was won for all.  So I encourage you to please go and vote.  Vote your conscience.  Vote your perspective.  But vote.

But it’s not just simply a civil obligation and duty.  Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life.  And that is a Christian obligation.  Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process. 

In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, sometimes a chapter that is debated among scholars and among Christians, St. Paul reminds us that we have a duty and an obligation to participate in the process of government, “For that is how our common life is ordered and structured.”  And at one point he actually says, “For the same reason,” going on, he’s expanding, he says, “For the same reason you also pay taxes for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with everything.”  That’s probably very true.  “Pay to all them that is due them.  Taxes to whom taxes are due.  Revenue to whom revenue is due.  Respect to whom respect is due.  Honor to whom honor is due.”  Now he’s talking about the role of government as helping to order our common life.  But here’s what I want you to really hear.  He continues and says: 

“So owe no-one anything except to love one another.  For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘You shall not murder’, ‘You shall not steal’, ‘You shall not covet’, any other commandment, they are all summed up in this word:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.  Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” 

For St. Paul, the way of love, the love of neighbor, is the fulfilling not only of the moral law of God, but the way to fulfill the civil law. 

Go and vote.  Vote your conscience.  Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor.  To participate in the process of seeking the common good.  To participate in the process of making this a better world.  However you vote, go and vote.  And do that as a follower of Jesus. 

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church