One of the most important actions we as citizens can take is to vote. In just a few months we will be deciding on issues and candidates likely to shape the future. How do we as people of faith respond? What values do we uphold?

As United Methodists, we are called to love our neighbor, to do justice, and to care for the vulnerable.  This requires of us engagement in our political community aimed at the betterment of society and the promotion of the common good. We are called to see the inherent worth of all people and to work for the well-being of all God’s creation.

As we read in the proposed Social Principles 2020, “while we do not believe churches should affiliate with particular political parties, we do encourage churches to speak out boldly on social issues from a Gospel perspective. We further believe churches have a right and a responsibility to educate and equip their members to be effective advocates for justice in the wider world.”

Democracy, Values and the 2020 Election: A Reflection Guide for Faith Communities was developed by Faith in Public Life and Interfaith Power and Light. This non-partisan guide focuses on 8 key areas of engagement, with questions to help faith communities in conversation and discernment on each policy area, as well as questions to ask of political candidates. While not exhaustive, these issues are broad-ranging, and include voting rights, climate justice, loving our immigrant neighbors, economy of inclusion, moral health policies, restorative and racial justice, respecting the dignity of LGBTQ people and the global common good. Sample questions include: What does your faith teach about our responsibilities for the Earth and to others? How are they interdependent? What can we do to ensure that all Americans are able to provide for their families and live with security and dignity? How do we build safe communities for everyone, particularly people of color? How can your faith community advocate for policies to create a more peaceful world?

How can we, as people of faith, help shape our future? How do we renew our fragile democracy? How do we honor the human dignity of every person? And protect God’s good creation for generations to come? The challenges we face require us to envision who we want to be as a nation. We need to affirm that all of us are created in the image of God. This guide is intended to help us grapple with very important issues we are called to address at every level in this upcoming election.

Take the time to read the guide. Gather family members, church members and people from your community to discuss the questions. Prepare to meet candidates with questions sparked by the guide.

United Methodist Women has signed on as a supporter of the guide. The full guide can be downloaded from United Methodist Women:

Karen McElfish,
Arlington District Lay Leader