What are your personal reasons for how you will cast your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6? Our neighbor George (who knows about these things) said that some people will only vote the party line no matter who runs for office (two legs or four legs). Some will only vote for someone they believe is a "real" liberal or a "real" conservative.

Does your faith or belief in our sacred scriptures offer any guidelines for reasons behind your vote?

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Vote for the poor! "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever" (Psalm 9:18). Job growth continues as well as a strong stock market. Both major political parties have put emphasis as a top priority on the recovery of the economy as well as strengthening the middle class. At the same time we are in a lopsided economic system where there are more individuals and families living below the poverty line than ever before. Rather than a "trickle-down" financial policy where the rich get richer, what is the hope for those who continue to struggle just to survive?

Vote for a green and protected earth! "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1). Both political parties recognize the immediate need for our own fossil fuel, but where is the emphasis on long-term renewable/sustainability energy? Who is concerned about the warming of the earth? Rather than "business as usual," who is placing emphasis on clean water and clean air?

Vote for the empowerment of women! "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7b). Gender-based violence is real. Women's health and health choices for women are serious issues. Because women are often seen as sexual objects, human trafficking is affecting thousands of girls every day not just around the world but also right here in America. Who stands for the empowerment of women?

Vote for quality health care! "She had spent everything she had on doctors but none could make her well" (Luke 8:43 CEV). People of faith recognize that good health care is needed for all Americans. What is offered in plans by the Democrats and Republicans to make this happen? How do we get insurance for those who have no coverage and how do we pay this bill?

Vote for human equality! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). How do we bring down the barriers that we have erected and treat all people with dignity and respect as holy scripture calls us to do? Who has a strong yet compassionate immigration policy? Is it possible to recognize that our God-given differences used in a positive way can continue to make America strong? Is it possible to be "one nation under God" without regard to color, national origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief?

Vote for Holy Land/Palestine/Middle East peace! "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!" (Psalm 122:6). American taxpayers give billions of dollars each year to Israel in support of their defense. Faith-based people recognize our continued support of the Israeli government must be accompanied with a recognition of human rights of all including the Palestinians. Who is willing to press for two states? Who is willing to risk working toward some form of solution with the religious and political hatred and suffering of the Middle East that has existed far too long?

The dialogue will continue far beyond the election. I simply ask that you think on these things.

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