Presiding Bishop offers election message, encourages voting as ‘a Christian obligation’

Election Toolkit provides resources for congregations, individuals

Posted Aug 22, 2016


[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] “Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in a video election message.  “And that is a Christian obligation. Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.”

The Presiding Bishop’s video election message is here. The video is closed-captioned and is subtitled in Spanish. The text of the Presiding Bishop’s message in English and Spanish is located at the end of this note.

The video is ideal for conversation, adult forums and group gatherings, Sunday School, youth groups, conventions, and meetings, etc.

Election Toolkit and resources
The Episcopal Church online toolkit with webpage outlines how individual Episcopalians and congregations can participate in the electoral process through nonpartisan activities. Among the possible non-partisan activities offered are: engaging young adults who are eligible to vote for the first time; hosting a candidate forum; advocating for voting rights legislation; and hosting Get Out The Vote campaigns. Through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN), information is also available on an important initiative, the Episcopal Pledge to Vote

• Election engagement resources, including the downloadable Episcopal Election Engagement Toolkit, are available here.

• Bulletin inserts are available here.

• A Facebook/Twitter social media campaign highlighting: state-by-state registration deadlines; information on voting rights; ways to support civil discourse; and historical fun facts of Episcopal political engagement through the centuries of our country. Facebook here and Twitter here.

• Hashtag #EpiscopaliansVote

The Presiding Bishop’s message in English follows:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Election Message

This November we will gather together as a nation to vote not only to elect a new president but to elect governmental leaders on a variety of levels.

We are blessed.  We are blessed as a nation to be able to do so as citizens of this country.  This is a right, an obligation, and a duty.  And indeed the right and the privilege to be able to vote is something that was won through an American revolution.  Something that was won even more through civil rights and women’s suffrage.  A right and a privilege that was won for all.  So I encourage you to please go and vote.  Vote your conscience.  Vote your perspective.  But vote.

But it’s not just simply a civil obligation and duty.  Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life.  And that is a Christian obligation.  Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.

In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, sometimes a chapter that is debated among scholars and among Christians, St. Paul reminds us that we have a duty and an obligation to participate in the process of government, “For that is how our common life is ordered and structured.”  And at one point he actually says, “For the same reason,” going on, he’s expanding, he says, “For the same reason you also pay taxes for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with everything.”  That’s probably very true.  “Pay to all them that is due them.  Taxes to whom taxes are due.  Revenue to whom revenue is due.  Respect to whom respect is due.  Honor to whom honor is due.”  Now he’s talking about the role of government as helping to order our common life.  But here’s what I want you to really hear.  He continues and says:

“So owe no-one anything except to love one another.  For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘You shall not murder’, ‘You shall not steal’, ‘You shall not covet’, any other commandment, they are all summed up in this word:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.  Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

For St. Paul, the way of love, the love of neighbor, is the fulfilling not only of the moral law of God, but the way to fulfill the civil law.

Go and vote.  Vote your conscience.  Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor.  To participate in the process of seeking the common good.  To participate in the process of making this a better world.  However you vote, go and vote.  And do that as a follower of Jesus.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

The Presiding Bishop’s message in Spanish follows:

Obispo Presidente Michael Curry Mensaje sobre las elecciones

Este mes de noviembre nos reuniremos como nación para votar, no solo para elegir un nuevo presidente, sino para elegir a líderes gubernamentales en una variedad de niveles.

Somos bendecidos. Somos bendecidos como nación por ser capaces de hacerlo como ciudadanos de este país. Esto es un derecho, una obligación y un deber. Y en verdad el derecho y el privilegio de poder votar es algo que se obtuvo mediante una revolución americana. Algo que fue logrado, aún más, a través de los derechos civiles y el sufragio femenino. Un derecho y un privilegio que fue conseguido por todos. Así que les animo a que, por favor, vayan y voten. Voten su conciencia. Voten su perspectiva. Pero voten.

Pero no es simplemente una obligación civil y un deber. El votar y participar en nuestro gobierno es una forma de colaborar en la vida común. Y eso es una obligación cristiana. Verdaderamente, a los que seguimos en el Camino de Jesús de Nazaret se nos pide que participemos activamente como reflejo de nuestra fe en el proceso civil.

En el capítulo trece de la Carta a los Romanos, -un capítulo que a veces se debate entre los académicos y entre los cristianos-, san Pablo nos recuerda que tenemos el deber y la obligación de participar en el proceso del gobierno, “pues así es cómo nuestra vida en común está ordenada y estructurada”. Y en realidad llega a decir: “Por la misma razón”, continúa, lo amplía, y dice: “por la misma razón ustedes también pagan los  tributos pues las autoridades son funcionarios al servicio de Dios, encargados de cumplir este oficio”. Eso es probablemente muy cierto. “Pagar a cada uno lo que le es debido. Al que se le deben impuestos, impuestos. Al que se le debe contribución, contribución. Al que se le debe respecto, respeto. Al que honor, honor”. Ahora está hablando de la función del gobierno en cuanto ayuda a ordenar nuestra vida en común. Pero aquí está lo que de verdad quiero que oigan. Continúa y dice:

“Así que la única deuda que tengan  con los demás  sea la del amor mutuo. Porque el que ama al prójimo ya cumplió toda la ley. Los mandamientos: ‘No cometerás adulterio’, ‘No matarás’, ‘No robarás’, ‘No codiciarás’, y cualquier otro mandamiento, todos están resumidos en esta palabra: ‘Amarás al prójimo como a ti mismo’. El amor no hace mal al prójimo, por eso, el amor es el cumplimiento de la ley”.

Para san Pablo, el camino del amor, del amor al prójimo, es el cumplimiento no sólo de la ley moral de Dios, sino la manera de cumplir la ley civil.

Vayan y voten. Voten su conciencia. Su conciencia informada por lo que significa amar al vecino. Participen en el proceso de la búsqueda del bien común. Participen en el proceso de hacer de este un mundo mejor. Comoquiera que voten, vayan y voten. Y hagan eso como seguidores de Jesús.

El Reverendísimo Michael B. Curry
Obispo Presidente y Primado
Iglesia Episcopal


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Comments (14)

  1. Thomas Bushnell BSG says:

    For the first time I am ashamed of Bishop Curry.

    1. M.E. Eccles says:


    2. Carol Mader says:

      I am curious also, as to why you are ashamed?

    3. Joel Watson says:

      I completely agree with Bushnell. First time ashamed to be an Episcpalian. Glad I am retired and not be expected to publish this.

  2. Bill Harrison says:

    I appreciate Bishop Michael’s reference to the “common good”. My struggle is deciding how to vote for “it” as opposed to the “status quo”. His admonition to vote as opposed to staying home is spot on!

  3. I am just as proud of Bishop Curry as ever.

    1. M.E. Eccles says:

      As am I.

  4. Terry Francis says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that most in TEC consider voting a “Christian obligation” only as long as one votes for a Democratic candidate, especially a progressive Democratic candidate.

  5. Rocky Rachal says:

    Actually, the “Christian obligation” (to use the questinable quotation marks of the previous post) that Bp. Curry was referencing is to measure the comments & message of the candidates by the Gospel and our Baptismal Vows (to review those see the “Rite of Holy Baptism” beginning on page 299 in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

  6. Kenneth Knapp says:

    I took my baptismal vows using the 1928 prayer book. I don’t remember what page it was on nor do I remember it saying anything about voting.

    1. Pegram Johnson III, PHD says:

      “New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth.” – – 1940 Hymnal
      The comment about Episcopalians voting for Democrats I find odd. As a priest I can tell you that there are a lot of conservatives in the pews (usually the trouble-makers).

      1. Kalena Williams says:

        “As a priest I can tell you there are a lot of conservatives in the pews (usually the trouble-makers).”

        You are a priest of the Episcopal Church? Sad.

  7. Iris Walters says:

    Interesting outlook….ashamed? You have a right and a responsibility to exercise that right. Bishop Curry is not advocating for one party or another….he is encouraging you to vote.

  8. David Kemp says:

    Seems like the Apostle Paul is suggesting we should vote. I wonder if the ashamed guy feels he doesn’t have a choice that will satisfy his conscience. That concept taken to it’s logical conclusion would always preclude voting. We are either going to have to vote for some less than perfect or let others decide for us.

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