My friends, Giuseppe and Mark delayed returning to Milan, Italy until they could vote early in New York State. They wouldn’t miss voting for anything! Giuseppe became a citizen of the United States in 2008, in time to vote in the presidential election that year. At the same time I experience his enthusiasm for the American process, I recall people who didn’t vote in 2016, because they didn’t like either presidential candidate. Their vote was lost.
This blog comes with a couple of weeks left before Election Day to encourage you to encourage others to vote on November 6. Among other things, it’s the Catholic thing to do!
Catholic Social Teaching directs Catholics to participate in public life and to exercise our civic duty. In a moment of truthful humor, Pope Francis remarked that, “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” He calls us to put aside exclusion, and embrace the common good.
Here are a few questions about our national election that arise out of our faith with its focus on social justice:
• With respect to Racism: Will the candidate work to reverse the disenfranchisement of people of color by supporting the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act?
• With respect to the Economy: Does the candidate have a plan to undo the damage of the tax law that widens wealth inequality?
• With respect to Immigration and Refugees: What has the candidate said about a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants or about the separation of families at our border?
• With respect to Healthcare: Does the candidate reject efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even while addressing its limitations?
• With respect to Gun Violence Prevention: Does the candidate support legislation to ban assault weapons and strengthen background checks?
• With respect to Global Peacemaking: Does the candidate support the increase of funding for diplomacy, peace-building and development, while cutting Pentagon spending and nuclear weapons?
• With respect to the Environment: Does the candidate support the Paris Climate Agreement and a shift to green energy?
• Respect for the First Amendment: Freedom of Religion and Conscience: Does the candidate have a thoughtful position that upholds both religious liberty and our responsibility to others?
These are the major areas roiling our political waters, but these are not the only questions. The Gospel is not our private domain, calling us to holiness without regard for others. In fact and in truth, the Gospel calls each of us to the public square – to dialogue with others who may agree or disagree with us so that we may understand and embrace the common good – the good of all without exception.
~Sister Joan Sobala