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Faith: the deciding factor when I vote


By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Oct. 26, 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Have you ever experienced an election year as we are now enduring?  It is especially critical, at this time when our society is suffering from a crisis of faith, not to lose heart particularly these days when our nation’s political process is in such turmoil.  We wonder, “Where is the Lord in all of this?” 

Personally, I find it very difficult to trust two candidates who want to lead our nation. I am embarrassed, disgusted and extremely concerned about their leadership abilities, their vitriolic language, their death-dealing values and their vision for tomorrow. What is one to do? 

First, it is imperative that we know and understand what our Church teaches about critical issues of the day.  If you have questions about Church teaching, please contact your pastor. The U.S. Bishops have provided resources for prayer and education at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship.

Secondly, we must educate ourselves on how the candidates (local, state and national) and their political parties stand on crucial issues by looking at their voting record and considering their words and actions. Granted, this is most difficult because of the many filters presented by the media.

Thirdly, we must weigh the candidates’ stance in view of Christ’s teaching, particularly on life matters such as abortion and euthanasia.  These are not just single issues among many of equal import.   From the outset, if I don’t have the natural and divine right to live and breathe, then all other important issues are irrelevant and moot. 

What about the vulnerable such as the poor, those who suffer unjust discrimination, the immigrant, the migrant, the elderly, the victim of terror and violence? 

Where do the candidates stand on such a critical concern as our religious freedom?

Whose character, whose values can I trust? 

Importantly, this applies to local and state-wide candidates, as well. The answers must inform my decision as I mark my ballot.

Faith must always be the deciding factor when I vote.  If it doesn’t, I suffer a real schizophrenic faith.

Somehow, we’ve allowed political party affiliation to rule the day.  God can no longer be on the margins of life.  Right and wrong are not negotiable. 

Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming.  Yet, we persist in prayer and our support for those who seek to walk in the ways of God.  Prayer motivates our behavior, expresses our hope, and nourishes our faith. 

Let us ask God today to make us strong in our faith, unwavering in our hope, and persistent in our prayer.  
Lastly, by all means, vote!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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