Yes, values are not just faith-based
The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:
Yes. Within any religious tradition, there is a range of views about how that faith is lived out in the public square. Christians hold different views on many critical issues facing our community and nation. You will find Christians who are pro-choice and pro-life; who oppose increasing military budgets and who support a strong national defense; who hold that governments have a responsibility to those who are poor and those who support the freedom of the economic markets; and who speak out in support of the rights of lesbians and gays and those who speak out against those same rights. Given the diversity within and among religious traditions it is not possible for a religion to speak with one voice.
As a citizen, I take my privilege to vote seriously. It is my expectation that those I choose to vote for share my perspective on issues regardless of their religious orientation, that they share these values not because they are religious but because these values are part of human life and community. These values are shared by people who have faith as well as those who struggle with faith or may have no religious faith.
While my values are shaped by the scriptures of my faith, similar values are shaped by other influences and experiences. As a Christian, I take my right to vote seriously. In these texts of my religion I hear essential questions about our common humanity and our lust for power, control and retaliation; I believe they compel us to consider the common good. I take these values into the voting booth to select those people who best reflect my concerns, whether they are of my faith or not.
— Send email to Kent Winters-Hazelton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, politics not same as religion
Charles Gruber, member, Oread Friends Meeting, 1146 Oregon:
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she has the same hairstyle as me? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she is the same gender as me? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she lives in my neighborhood? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if she or he has the same skin coloration as me? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if his or her kids go to my kids’ school? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she digs the Beatles? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she drives a 2003 PT Cruiser? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she is a Chiefs fan? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she is a Jayhawks fan? That one is self-evident.
Should I vote for a candidate if he or she beat me for the election to the high school council 50 years ago? Depends.
Should I vote for a candidate who is the same religion as me? Depends.
It depends on things like commitment, dedication, authenticity, sincerity and ability. Does it depend on how or where she or he worships? Not for me. On how he or she chooses to socialize? Nope. On whether he or she even believes in God? No. On the depth of Spirit residing in the candidate? How would I know that? (This is an internal trait, not an external one.)
So, politics and religion: Are they the same or different? If you don’t instantly know the answer to that one, go re-read the Constitution. I think the answer is in there.
— Send email to Charles Gruber at email@example.com.