Melissa Miller, Director of Community Life & Social Justice
Questions for Reflection
The “mid-term” election is coming quickly and, if you’re like me, perhaps not quickly enough. I’m tired of the incessant campaign ads, emails clogging my inbox, as well as the negativity and mud-slinging from candidates. So I was particularly happy to see some thought-provoking questions and information from leaders of the Catholic Church. Not all of these questions have answers, and not all the answers that are provided are perfect, but all the questions are valuable and worth consideration. I thank the Minnesota Catholic Conference for them.
As people of faith who believe that every life is unique and sacred, we need to know where the candidates stand on abortion and assisted suicide. Does the candidate support contracts for gestational surrogacy? Does the candidate support access to aﬀordable health care and housing? Does the candidate support social and economic policies that encourage economic participation and the payment of a living wage?
Here at OLG we understand that education changes lives, and that access to quality education is important for every child. Does the candidate support legislation that would provide a tax credit for donations to scholarship-granting organizations?
Pollution is threatening our clean water. Does the candidate support legislation to lean up and protect our state’s water resources?
Does the candidate support religious freedom—not just the right to practice one’s faith, but the ability of that faith to operate and serve the general public in a manner consistent with the tenets of that faith?
These are just a few of the many issues that aﬀect people of faith. Please think about these questions as you prepare to vote. Please do vote and vote your values. Something to think about.
When I’m discouraged by the vitriol, irritated by the exaggerations, angered by the blatant lies and when those negative emotions threaten to overwhelm me, I turn to prayer.
I’m especially grateful that the USCCB has published an election novena ﬁlled with prayers and practical suggestions. I share the ﬁrst six days of it here (the last three days coming soon) and encourage you to pray it prior the election:
Day 1: Pray for religious liberty for all, that we may practice our respective faiths and serve the poor and vulnerable fully.
Heavenly Father, you created us to love and serve you in everything we do. Please help us support candidates who will protect the rights of citizens to worship and fully practice their faith. Amen.
Day 2: Pray about life, bioethics and that the US support a culture of life that values life from conception through natural death, recognizing that each of us is a unique, beloved child of God.
Heavenly Father, may we elect candidates who have a profound reverence for the sanctity of human life. Amen.
Day 3: Pray for the poor and vulnerable. Jesus tells us that we must care for those on the margins of society and strive to build a more just world.
Heavenly Father, You are present in the “least of these.” Please help us elect oﬃcials who will support policies that complement our own individual eﬀorts to care for the poor and vulnerable. Amen.
Day 4: Care for creation is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water and air we share is part of the religious duty of stewardship.
Heavenly Father, may we elect leaders who pursue policies that respect the gift of creation and ensure its bounty is available to all, now and in the future. Amen.
Day 5: Labor and economy assessed according to whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person.
Heavenly Father, Help us to elect oﬃcials who recognize the dignity of work, and are committed to just economic policies. Amen.
Day 6: Marriage and family life. Families are essential to healthy societies. We need policies that support families, such as parenting leave, and leave to care for an ill family member.
Lord God, help us to discern and support elected oﬃcials who will support the integrity of the family through public policy. Amen.
Day 7: Pray for immigration reform. Reform should provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants and prioritize family reunification, while addressing the root causes of migration and maintaining the right and responsibility of nations to control their borders.
Christ Jesus, you call upon us to welcome the stranger in our midst. May we elect officials who pursue policies that recognize the dignity of all migrants. Amen.
Day 8: Pray for access to quality education for all young people, including those who are poor and those with disabilities. Government policy should help provide options for parents, especially those of modest means, to exercise this right. All persons have the right to receive a quality education and to be given the opportunity to develop intellectually, morally, spiritually, and physically, allowing them to become responsible citizens.
God the Father, you ask all parents to lead their children on the path of wisdom. Help us to discern and elect candidates who will support parents in this important vocation. Amen.
Day 9: Pray for affordable and accessible health care for all. The nation’s health care system needs to be rooted in values that respect human dignity, protect human life, respect the principle of subsidiarity, and meet the needs of the poor and the vulnerable. Employers should be able to provide health care without compromising their convictions, and individuals should be able to purchase health care that accords to their faith.
Heavenly Father, you desire that all your children are adequately cared for. Guide our election day decisions so that we might choose leaders who are committed to ethical care for all. Amen.
Complete Election Novena. This wonderful novena includes prayers and questions to ponder along with video snippets from Archbishop Hebda, Bishop Cozzens and other US bishops.
As the midterm elections approach, here are some guidelines for voting:
Find a Place to Vote
Vote Your Conscience
For information on voting your conscience, you can visit the Minnesota Catholic Conference website which has great resources to form consciences, inform votes, and transform our state, including a candidate questionnaire. They have thoughtful articles and links to upcoming ways to make your voice hear in state politics such as “Catholics at the Capitol” on February 19, 2019 where you will have the opportunity to hear inspiring speakers and meet your legislator.