A selection of interfaith, civic, and media resources for the 2004 elections.
This non-partisan site of the American Friends Service Committee provides basic information on candidates’ positions related to foreign policy, with brief quotes and links. Included is a list of proposed questions for candidates with an emphasis on civil rights, pluralism, and equal opportunity. It also provides a “Voting History Timeline,” a “Youth and Student Foreign Policy Voting Guide,” and links to multiple voter registration sites.
The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections is an umbrella group for numerous Muslim American organizations with a detailed mission and election plan promoting a “Civil Rights Plus” agenda aimed at community building, voter outreach, and integrating American Muslims into the mainstream. This site also provides information on candidates and detailed information on community-building tasks.
The B’nai B’rith nonpartisan “Get out the Vote” site explains the need for voter registration, education, and turnout.
Catholic Vote’s “Guide to Election 2004” is a project of the non-profit organization Catholics for a Free Choice and “provides information to policymakers and the media interested in unraveling the arguments surrounding the US bishops’ and conservative Catholic attacks on pro-choice lawmakers that will aid in developing authoritative statements on the ‘pro-choice and Catholic’ issue.”
Concerned Women for America’s mission is to “protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens — first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society — thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation.” The site provides a voter registration link and numerous articles on politics and religion.
The mission of Faithful Democracy is “to increase the number of people casting informed votes that are counted in the 2004 elections; to increase the number of people with a commitment to responsible civic participation that is grounded in their religious values; and, to create or strengthen lasting partnerships between different religious groups, and between the faith community and secular organizations at the local level.” The site provides state-by-state lists of voter action centers and links to “Faith Partner” organizations.
The Family Research Council “promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.” Their site includes a voter registration page and publications on government, including “Republicanism and Religion” and “The Pro-Life Vote and the 2004 Senate Elections.”
The “I Vote Values” website is a resource of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council that encourages voting, provides information on presidential candidates, and answers to commonly asked questions about voting.
The Muslim American Society’s “Voting is Power” page links the importance of voting with political empowerment. The site provides facts about voter registration under the heading “Defending Your Vote” and includes an online voter registration form.
The Muslim Students Association’s detailed voter guide for the Primaries (updated January 2004) outlines candidate positions on various issues including “Abortion,” “Civil Rights,” “Foreign Policy,” and “Environment.” The MSA aims to increase the “political literacy of American Muslim students.”
NETWORK “uses the principles of Catholic social justice tradition as a lens through which to view federal policy and legislation and how it will contribute to a more just and economically sustainable world.” The site provides a list of questionnaires for candidates on various issues and a list of faith-inspired quotes promoting civic participation. The site is available in Spanish and English.
“The Pagan Voting Project is designed to register Earthwise voters nation-wide and to encourage them to vote in the November election. We don’t tell the Earthwise Community how to vote but we do encourage Pagans to be informed and active citizens.” The site includes a list of the “13 Reasons Why Pagans Should Vote.”
Under the category of “Civic Participation,” the People for the American Way website features resources on election reform and voter rights and registration. Voter registration efforts include “Arrive With Five,” a “nonpartisan campaign that encourages women, people of color, the elderly, and the disabled to make their voices heard by participating in elections,” and “Mi Familia Vota!” a Hispanic voter registration effort.
The Presbyterian Church web page links to a pamphlet (PDF) called “Christian and Citizen” that outlines election year issues and includes policy statements “based on a Reformed Theological understanding of the biblical message and a belief that God works through the assembled commissioners of the Church.” Other resources include voter registration information, a bibliography of Church/Government texts, and instructional pages titled “Holding a Candidate Forum in Your Church” and “Maybe You Should Run for Office.”
“Redeem the Vote” adapts the model of MTV’s “Rock the Vote” for young evangelical Christians, bringing together Christian musicians to encourage voter registration. Their site explains, “Redeem The Vote wants to motivate the more than 25 million evangelical Christians who are not registered to vote! Our effort seeks to mobilize those in the faith-based community to exercise their rights as citizens and get involved in the political process!”
The “Get Out the Vote 2004” voter guide was designed for use by Jewish congregations and communal organizations. It promotes voter registration in the general public and “aims to demystify the registration process, to focus communal energy on the privilege and responsibility of voting, and to provide information to plan a successful voter engagement effort in advance of Election Day.”
The Sikh Coalition’s voter registration effort “Every Voice Counts” is described as “a campaign to empower the Sikh people” and “to help Sikhs announce their presence to schools, city councils, and state and national governments.” The website includes voter registration links and information on launching a voter registration drive at the local gurdwara; in addition to an “Every Voice Counts” flyer (PDF) in English, information about how to register to vote is provided in the Punjabi language.
Sojourners is “a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.” The site features a voter registration page, entitled “Register, Pray, Vote.” Online resources include articles on key topics designed to help readers “make faith-informed election choices.”
This detailed election site includes a letter from the UU President urging members to vote, and to join with other organizations for civic participation. It provides links to The Interfaith Alliance, Faithful Democracy, and numerous web resources for voting information, as well as links to sites dealing with “poll monitoring and security” and “voter advocacy and education.” It also includes a link to detailed survey article from Christian polling organization The Barna Group entitled “Tight Presidential Race Influenced by People’s Faith.”
The “Defending Democracy” program encourages members to participate in democracy forums, offers workcamps that intend to “explore ways to build effective working relationships across race and class moving from voter empowerment to advocacy,” and provides information about election-related issues through “Defending Democracy Issue Briefs.”
The UCC’s “Our Faith Our Vote” campaign “is designed to provide ideas and resources to help members of the faith community participate in and shape the democratic process.” The site features an “Our Faith Our Vote” Organizers Kit (PDF), which includes guidelines for advocates such as “How to Hold a Candidate Forum” and “Sermon and Worship Resources.” Other resources include “A Christian Vision for the 2004 Election” (PDF) and a page with stories from UCC churches actively engaged in “Our Faith Our Vote” efforts.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website notes, “In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation.” Resources on the “Faithful Citizenship” pages include Bishops’ statements, Vatican statements, a PDF “Family Guide to Faithful Citizenship,” and organizational and practical suggestions for parish staffs, councils, and dioceses.
The website of Ven. Thubten Chodron offers Buddhist educational resources. A brief article from the author discusses challenges of being an informed voter and wise citizen, urges mindfulness and respect on difficult issues, and states, “Buddhists who are informed citizens should vote. By sharing our knowledge, voting is one way to contribute to the welfare of society.”
The Pluralism Project’s “Religious Diversity News” features summaries of articles and links to online resources; the news database is searchable and includes cross-references to ongoing stories, such as “Election 2004.”
Other cross-references include:
Beliefnet is an online religion magazine and multifaith resource featuring “Faith & Politics 2004.” This page includes extensive materials related to religion and the elections, from Steve Waldman’s Convention Blogs and a “Religion & Politics Stats Library” to the tongue-in-cheek “God-o-Meter.” The site also includes a range of articles, updated frequently, and features discussion forums on a range of topics, including “Buddhism & Politics” and “Muslim Politicians.”
NOW’s Election 2004 coverage includes a “Religion and Politics” feature. The page provides statistics about the fastest-growing faiths in America, resource maps, a “Freedom of Religion Quiz,” and a “Debate” section which discusses church/state separation and faith-based initiatives.
The Pew Forum functions as both a clearinghouse and a town hall. “As a clearinghouse, it gathers and disseminates objective information through polls and reports on topics related to religion and public policy. As a town hall, it provides a neutral venue — through its various issue roundtables and rapid response events — for discussions of important issues where religion and politics intersect.”
This Governance Studies Project at the Brookings Institution works closely with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, specifically researching community and national service, faith-based initiatives, religion and citizenship. The Brookings Institution Press also publishes books on these subjects.
Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life: Religion and the 2004 Election
The mission of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center is to “advance knowledge and understanding of the varied roles that religious movements, institutions, and ideas play in the contemporary world; to explore challenges posed by religious pluralism and tensions between religious and secular values; and to examine the influence of religion on politics, civic culture, family life, gender roles, and other issues in the United States and elsewhere in the world.”
National Voice provides a database of voter projects that can be searched by the category “Religious Institutions.” A key activity of National Voice is to help local groups incorporate voter education and registration activities into their work. The site also provides a detailed list of organizations with voter projects by state and an online resource library of voting information sites.
Youth Vote is a non-partisan coalition with the goal of increasing voter turnout. The site provides a list of a broad range of organizations and voting sites partnered with Youth Vote including national religious, ethnic, advocacy, and non-profit groups.