Commentary: Bring your faith into the ballot box

While we often divorce our faith from the political process, the truth of the matter is that our faith calls us to address the deepest concerns of our society that often necessitate political action.

For this reason, following the weekend Interfaith Care of Creation conference at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, I joined participants from the symposium across the street at a demonstration in support of Proposition 37 (the Right to Know) and Proposition 39 (Close the Loophole).

I believe strongly in God's charge to humanity to be stewards of creation. This is a direct call to care for the environment. Proposition 39 will bring work to California and provide green jobs for sustainable building. As people of faith called to truth, Proposition 37 will provide transparency to the consumer.

Allis Druffel of California Interfaith Power and Light spoke on behalf of both propositions saying that "Global warming is the moral issue of our time" and because of Proposition 39's opportunity for green jobs her organization strongly supports it.

"Prop. 39 is a win, win, win for our environment, our economy and for the health of our California communities," she said. "We have a moral duty to protect the health and well being of our communities. This includes the right to safe food and to know what exactly we are putting on our plates."

In addition to faith leaders, we were joined by Doug Mangione of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 441, who shared with us the urgency for job creation in the construction industry, which has been heavily hit by the recession. Retrofitting old buildings not only provides good jobs but invests in our future. Proposition 39 would specifically help upgrade our schools, making them more energy efficient with potential installation of solar power.

I was moved to tears when we circled together to close our time and pray. Native American the Rev. Adelia Sandoval sang a traditional blessing, reminding us that we stand not only for our generation, but for all the generations to come.

As citizens we are charged with the responsibility to care for our community and the earth. As people of faith we are the guardians of hope, and even in the face of despairing climate change, unsustainable energy consumption, and economic challenges, we must not be rendered paralyzed with fear but emboldened to act.

In the weekend's interfaith gathering I found renewed hope for the future. So take your faith into the voting booth and engage in this sacred act of voting, conscientious of what our actions will mean for future generations.

The Rev. SARAH HALVERSON is pastor at Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa.

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