The Bishops' Letter on the Importance of Voting

Bishop Scott Jones of the Kansas Area of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Gerald Mansholt of the Central States Synod, the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, and the Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas issued the follow letter recently:

We, as bishops of churches in Kansas, urge all of our members to take seriously their responsibility to vote in the Primary Election, August 1, 2006 and the General Election, November 7, 2006.

Christ said that the greatest commandments were to love God with heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:34 -40) . God calls us to live our lives so that we do all that we can to follow God’s will for ourselves and the rest of creation.

Participating in the political process is part of our Christian witness. The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and our Kansas Constitution ensure that the full weight of governance falls upon the good actions of the citizenry. Each one of us has the important task in making sure that we exercise our responsibility at election time. Regardless of party affiliation, we need to make our voices heard.

Because we love God and neighbor, each of us has an obligation to vote in the primary and general elections being held this year. We citizens are crucial in determining the ongoing success of our governmental system. If there is a weakness in the system, if the system is flawed, or if the system is not responsive, then a part of the responsibility for these flaws rest[s] with us, the voters.

Committed Christians live out their faith, in part, by exercising political responsibility. One church body has expressed that responsibility in this way. “The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens. The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust.”

We call all our members to prayerful consideration of our civic responsibility. We care. We vote. All of us need to participate in both the primary and general elections.