Voting Our Values

“What’s in it for me?” Why should I care about them?” “This doesn’t affect me or my family.”

In a society infected by an “It’s all about me” value system, these questions and statements hold a prominent place in our political discussions. It is into such political discussions that people of faith enter bringing with them a different set of values.

These values are based on a belief in the common good. We are a part of a community and our faith calls us to care about and to be involved in advancing the well being of all people.

It has been said that a person of faith can never ask, “Am I satisfied with my health care coverage?” A person of faith must always ask, “Am I satisfied with my neighbor’s health care coverage?”

Those of us in Judeo-Christian faith traditions are commanded to love God and love our neighbor. Perhaps if we want to know how well we are living into the first commandment we need to check out how well we are living out the second commandment.

All this is to say, as we people of faith enter into the present political campaigns for President or down ballot races, our faith calls us to listen intently for the value system upon which the candidates’ positions are based.

Does the candidate’s attitude toward the poor and marganilized reflect your values? Does the candidate’s concern for the oppressed express your values? Does the candidate’s views around the health of Earth’s climate align with your understanding of our role as stewards of God’s creation? In fact, does one political party’s positions and policies have a tendency to align more closely with your faith-based values?

As we enter the voting booth (in Colorado, fill out our mail-in-ballot) we are not just choosing a candidate, we are expressing our faith values!

Are we expressing a value system that is self-focused, all-about-me based or are we voting based on the values of caring about the well being of all people, the common good – “loving our neighbor?”

- Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan

Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches, retiring in 2013 after serving for 13 years. Since his retirement, he established, Doing Justice LLC.