Vote Common Good holds events and training to guide voters on intersections between religion and politics ahead of the upcoming election. The nonprofit’s programming asks voters to align with candidates who support the “common good” beyond a particular political party. They also strive to raise awareness about Christian Nationalism.
Doug Pagitt, executive director of Vote Common Good, noted that there are a lot of voters who have noticed a change in the relationship between religion and American politics.
“The divides that we have in our country, the fear that we feel of one another, that’s something that we want to help people overcome. So we want them to know the issues so that they can engage more deeply with the people who hold their views,” Pagitt said.
Vote Common Good is a nonprofit that aims to change the national narrative around religion and politics. According to their website, they do this through holding events, messaging campaigns, and training for political candidates on how to talk to “faith-based” voters.
Pagitt said that as Christian pastor he can ask people to use their faith to guide their decision making when voting. However, he believes that public officials should separate the two.
“The worry of using the Christian text, or the Jewish text, or the Islamic text as the reason for our laws, that is something that we need to avoid across the board,” Pagitt said
Pagitt said for a lot of people religion and politics are both identity issues.
“Most voters don’t vote on policy. They vote on their own identity,” Pagitt said.
Meanwhile, attendees reflected on this conflict within themselves. Bethany Davey is a student at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. She said that she attended a training with Vote Common Good to dissect beliefs that she learned as a child and things that she realized as an adult.
“Our religious beliefs impact our political beliefs. Our political beliefs impact our religious beliefs, and they’re impossible to tease out,” Davey said. “Growing up, there was always an American flag up on the stage at church next to the Christian flag. So those things, even just visually, were always connected.”
Pagitt said that Christian Nationalism is tied to a whole number of other social issues such as race, economics, and immigration. However, he said that connecting the two could have consequences.
“There would not have been an insurrection without Christian Nationalism,” Pagitt said.
According to Paggit, evangelical and Catholic voters have a history of strictly voting with Republican candidates. The key takeaway that Pagitt wants voters to have is to use their faith to vote with who is right for them.
“They don’t want to be aligned with someone who makes them feel like they are a bad person.” Pagitt said
The organization’s Faith, Hope, & Love: Not Insurrections and Christian Nationalism Tour will hold events in Ohio and Pennsylvania in the coming weeks leading up to the 2022 election.
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