Vote Faithfully: ELCAVotes

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Election Day is less than one month away and voter registration deadlines are approaching in many states, including Virginia. We are called to conversation and prayer around our role as U.S. residents and as people of faith in ensuring our election systems promote dignity and respect for all. So, how then can we as disciples promote positive civic engagement? ELCAvotes is one such initiative that is working to support conversations and turn to action.
Led by ELCA AdvocacyELCA Racial Justice Ministries and ELCA Young Adult Ministry ELCAvotes is an initiative to:
  • Expand the role of the church in encouraging faithful and non-partisan voter participation by providing faith-based resources around voting.
  • Provide a framework for all Lutherans to understand and speak out about the intersection of voting/elections, racial/gender, and economic justice.
  • Provide young adults with the tools to understand and speak about what it means to be a young person of faith who is civically engaged.
  • Engage with and equip ethnic communities to talk about voting rights and race and their connection with elections today.

Our faith compels us to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God, and to each other. This includes participating in elections! Voting is one of the most important ways Americans can be involved in our representative democracy. We can live out our affirmation of baptism through the electoral process, as we “serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus,” and “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”

That said, the importance of nonpartisan civic engagement must be emphasized. Faithful civic engagement must follow the law that any participation by churches in the electoral process is strictly nonpartisan. There are many ways we can take part, so long as we educate and conduct ourselves under the laws surrounding our participation in electoral affairs. Here are just a few examples of how you can join in ELCAvotes this election year:
1. Hold discussions and Bible study in your congregation, synod, or campus with a focus on:
  • Our calling, as Lutherans, to take part in and engage with our government
  • The social, economic and political root causes in denying the opportunity to vote
  • How we as a church together can promote dignity and respect and honor all who live in our communities
  • Faithful decision-making
  • Offering prayers for elected leaders and good government
2. Mobilize participation in the electoral process by:
  • Registering citizens to vote
  • Conducting candidate forums
  • Early voting
  • Encouraging citizens to vote on Election Day
3. Advocate for an electoral system that guarantees the right to vote to all citizens
Help ELCA Advocacy identify places around the country where the right to vote is still being denied and join our leadership network to help us create a course of action.
4. Follow #ELCAvotes on social media and participate in the conversation online
The ELCA will hold Twitter chats through ELCAYoung Adult Ministry and will post updated information on our efforts on Twitter and Facebook.

Voting Deadline and Resources

The deadline to register to vote, or to update your address in Virginia for the November election is October 15th, 2018.
You can go toelections.virginia.gov for information on registering to vote and to register electronically. The site also allows you to check your registration status, view what’s on your ballot, find your local polling place, and learn more relating to this year’s election.
ELCAvotes has produced two bible studies to support these conversations! These bible studies These Bible studies focus on verses from Luke 3:1-6 and Isaiah 58:10 with supporting discussion questions and resources.
ELCAvotes has also created a Civic Participation and Voter Education Guide with the intent to encourage, empower, and equip Lutherans for responsible civic engagement based on their faith values.
Registering to vote is a commitment to civic engagement, to our Christian values to seek justice, and the first step of inclusion in the political process. The simple act of voting has a powerful impact. Your vote means that elected officials are accountable to you. Your vote allows you to become an advocate for all the change or consistency that you wish to see in this country. Your voice and your vote matter.
By | 2018-10-12T09:54:37+00:00 October 11th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Vote Faithfully: ELCAVotes

About the Author:

Emily Pilat is the Director of Communications for the Virginia Synod. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she earned her BA in in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Digital Studies.If you have an announcement, upcoming event, or news story idea you would like to share, get in touch with Emily via email [email protected] or by phone (540) 389-1000