RELIGION AND POLITICS: Should your religious beliefs influence how you vote?

Religion

Utah (ABC4 News) — The 2020 election is days away and Utahns across the state are casting their votes. Maybe more than ever before, Americans are being encouraged to exercise their right to vote and to vote for the candidate who best aligns with their personal beliefs and opinions. 

And while hearing from organizations like the NFL, NBA, Facebook, and some retail stores may be somewhat expected, there is another key part of society that has been proactive in getting out the vote: religion.

The United Jewish Federation of Utah tells ABC4 it is calling on its communities to vote and to revitalize its democratic ideals. “We call on our community and the leaders of our institutions to urge their membership to get out and vote,” the federation says. “We as a community cherish our plurality of differing opinions and believe by exercising this right we preserve this most important ideal,”

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City says it also encourages its congregations to exercise the right to vote.  

“The Catholic Church community extends far beyond our parishes, as do our obligations to the common good. Catholics are not only expected to vote and otherwise engage in our political community, we are morally obligated to do so,” says Jean Hill with the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. 

“This obligation stems from our baptismal promise to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, ‘It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. … As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life.’”

Authorities with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also encouraging political participation and voting for Church citizens in the United States. 

“We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs. We also urge you to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering,” as stated in a statement to Latter-day Saint members. 

Latter-day Saint officials have not endorsed an individual candidate but advise voters to consider moral issues.

“Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles. While the Church affirms its institutional neutrality regarding political parties and candidates, individual members should participate in the political process. Please strive to live the gospel in your own life by demonstrating Christlike love and civility in political discourse.”

Imam Shuaib with the Utah Islamic Center says he has addressed his congregants about the importance of voting in a recent sermon, “I encourage my congregants to exercise their civic responsibility/duty and vote.” 

The Islamic Center in Salt Lake City is the largest in the state and this year, the Utah Islamic Center is the 1st Mosque in Utah that has been approved as a polling place for the Nov. 3 election.

Have you voted? Check out Utah.gov for voter information.

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