“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:1-5
As we approach voting day, we would like to make all Saints of God aware of Presiding Bishop Blake’s Absentee Ballot Initiative – An Episcopalian Call to Political Responsibility. Bishop Blake encourages us to take voting seriously and considers it a call of duty, as we are both Christians and American citizens. The Bible informs us that we must submit to the authority of appointed leaders. Therefore, we must be participants of those laws that are implemented, considering it a believer’s duty to participate in the judicial system.
Bishop Blake strives to accomplish these four things in his initiative:
- Educate churches and pastors on the importance for biblically faithful voters to vote their biblical values.
- Partner with pastors and churches to encourage members to participate in the election process.
- Develop and promote a strategic Absentee Ballot and Action Plan to encourage absentee voting as needed in respective states, incorporating strategies at the national, jurisdictional, district and local levels throughout the Church of God in Christ within respective communities.
- Develop an administrative toolkit for the Presiding Bishop Absentee Ballot Initiative including moving “Souls to the Polls.”
Absentee Voting is voting on a ballot by mail or picking up a ballot for someone who is unable to go to the polls themselves. You must request an absentee ballot to your Supervisor of Elections. To help in this endeavor, Bishop is urging us to create steering committees within our neighborhoods, considering the three objectives of this initiative: registration, education, and mobilization. Recruit volunteers to help spread the word and objective by passing out materials and making people aware of the initiative. Also, we should create activities for churches and pastors that push the objective and prescribed guidelines of this initiative.
In an effort to get as many “Souls to the Polls” as possible, Bishop Blake urges us to consider this plan of action as a tool to encourage the Saints to vote this coming election: Focus on the areas of registration, education and mobilization. Understand voting in your particular state, making sure that each person that wishes to participate in the absentee ballot is registered to vote. Prepare a calendar of events leading up to the election with volunteers and congregants of the Church of God in Christ. Meet and encourage collaboration with local board of electors and state’s election officials. Plan deadlines and remind people of key dates and providing directions to polling locations. Develop a database of zip codes tracking the progress in your area to submit to this initiative. Share information by having discussions about politics from a biblical perspective. Evaluate past elections and past terms of political office to decipher what worked and what did not work. Lastly, thank everyone that participated and celebrate all your dynamic efforts.
Church of God in Christ does not push any individual to vote for any particular candidate. We only encourage each member of the body of Christ to make sure that they cast their vote based off their belief and faith in God’s word.