Pope Benedict XVI and Catholic Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke both recently characterized voting as a moral act with spiritual consequences.
The pope said that "decriminalizing abortion is a betrayal to democracy," since he believes the procedure denies rights to the unborn, and recently said that Catholics should use their vote "for the promotion of the common good." Burke called voting a "serious moral obligation" and added that Catholics "can never vote for someone who favors absolutely what's called the 'right to choice.'"
To choose a candidate for the state is not just one's responsibility, rather it is a moral and spiritual obligation as well. Religious authorities should refrain from interfering in the freedom of choice of an individual.
Posted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on November 6, 2010 2:33 PM
Pope Benedict, being the single largest religious leader of the world with about 1.17 billion in his flock, carries a big influence on the world and is important. Moreover, he is said to be the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ upon earth. If one's consciousness believed in something contradictory, one is always free to choose a different path.
Voting is neither a religious nor a political act. It is a human act, a moral act, and like every moral act it can strengthen or loosen one's connection to God, to light up or darken the truth of human existence.
Posted by Thomas G. Bohlin, on November 2, 2010 5:36 PM
Voting is our right as Americans, but it's also our responsibility as followers of Christ. The Bible, after all, calls us to be salt and light to the world. Making informed decisions at the ballot box rooted in our morals and values is a critical opportunity to act on that exhortation, one way we "season" and "brighten" the society we live in.
Legalized abortion denies an entire class of human beings the very right to live. It's the "single issue" that matters most. I am proud to belong to a Church led by a pope and bishops who aren't afraid to say so.
Posted by Danielle Bean, on November 2, 2010 10:04 AM
As Christians, we believe that we were born in the United States for a reason. Unlike Christians throughout history and in some nations today, American Christians have been empowered by God to shape and guide our government.
Posted by Jordan Sekulow, on November 2, 2010 9:38 AM
This is the season of Samhain, of Halloween, the time when Witches say the veils between the worlds are thin and the ancestors come close and whisper in our ears. I'll vote tomorrow, remembering what they spoke to me on Samhain night. I heard them say, "Hope is something that must be eternally renewed."
If the Constitution requires that religion be left out of the affairs of the state then how can we have religious heads dictating who should or should not be elected? For that matter how can we have anyone bringing their religious beliefs into a political campaign? Can you imagine the chaos that would create?
Posted by Arun Gandhi, on November 1, 2010 3:30 PM
Religious people need an ethic of voting which both honors their tradition, including its views on specific policies, while also honoring that we live in a country built upon the notion that all people are entitled to the same respect, regardless of the tradition they follow.
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on November 1, 2010 2:43 PM
I live in fear for the day when members of various dominant faith groups start voting lock-step with the pronouncements of their spiritual leaders, because true democracy would soon wither and die in such an environment.
Posted by Jason Pitzl-Waters, on November 1, 2010 2:40 PM
If I were pope, the only statement I'd issue before elections is that it's a positive moral act to vote, because every citizen who is too lazy to go to the polls--who needs to feel "enthusiasm" in order to do his or her civic duty--drains democracy of its meaning and vitality.
Posted by Susan Jacoby, on November 1, 2010 11:23 AM