As we prepare for Election Day on Tuesday, I am struck by the ballot initiatives this year and how LARGE some of the signs are in the yards, indicating strong preferences, values, and hopes for the outcomes. Some of you know that legally, churches may not promote candidates — it jeopardizes our non-profit tax status. We are allowed, however, to speak to the issues on the ballot.
However, churches have a moral obligation — in election seasons and any time — to examine how our prayer shapes our beliefs, and how our beliefs shape our actions. We believe, as Episcopalians, that our life of prayer does indeed shape our belief. When it comes to ballot measures and voting, our Baptismal Covenant is a solid compass for navigating our votes.
To these Baptismal Covenant questions:
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
We respond, “I will, with God’s help.”
Does our vote correspond with loving our neighbors as ourselves? Does our vote seek to respect the dignity of every human being and promote justice and peace among all people?
Prayerful Episcopalians gather at Diocesan Convention every year, and every three years at General Convention. On the matter of Issue 1, the Episcopal Church has been relatively clear. In 2018, the General Convention released this Resolution D032:
The Episcopal Church maintains that access to equitable health care, including reproductive health care and reproductive procedures, is “an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being”
I have counseled women whose pregnancies have threatened their life and the aftermath of decisions to keep or abort those pregnancies. I have listened to women who have been either conflicted or deeply grieved after having an abortion. Abortion is a sad and grievous decision, but in my experience is almost never a lightly-considered choice. Above all, I have listened to obstetricians in our own community who have shared how vital it is to their health care practice and for the integrity of the health of the women they serve to keep abortion legal. If you are interested in speaking with one of these faithful, Christian doctors, please let me know and I can connect you with them.
My colleague, the Reverend Philip DeVaul, recently recorded a podcast and wrote a blog post at Church of the Redeemer here in Cincinnati where he urges “trust women.” https://www.redeemer-cincy.org/podcasts/rectors-blog/
Please join me in prayerfully looking at the candidates and issues on the ballot, casting your vote this Tuesday.