Religion and Politics 2004: Multifaith Resources (2004)

A selection of interfaith, civic, and media resources for the 2004 elections.

Religious / Interfaith Organizations:

American Friends Service Committee: Voter Information

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.

American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections

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.

B’nai B’rith: Get Out the Vote

The B’nai B’rith nonpartisan “Get out the Vote” site explains the need for voter registration, education, and turnout.

Catholics in Political Life: Challenges to Faith in Democracy

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

Concerned Women for America’s mission is to “protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens — first through prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., 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.

Faithful Democracy

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.

Family Research Council

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.”

I Vote Values

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.

Muslim American Society: Voting is Power

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.

Muslim Students Association: Voter Guide (PDF)

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 MSAIn 1963, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) was organized to promote religious unity, through education and mutual aid, among Muslim international students at North American colleges. The MSA laid the groundwork for numerous national organizations, inc... aims to increase the “political literacy of American Muslim students.”

NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

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

“The PaganThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... 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 PagansThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... to be informed and active citizens.” The site includes a list of the “13 Reasons Why Pagans Should Vote.”

People for the American Way: Civic Participation

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.

Presbyterian Church USA: Christian and Citizen Election Year Resource

The PresbyterianPresbyterian is the general name for churches governed by elected presbyters or elders and refers especially to Reformed churches in Scotland and England that shaped Presbyterian churches worldwide. The church is distinguished both from those in which aut... ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, 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 GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. 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

“Redeem the Vote” adapts the model of MTV’s “Rock the Vote” for young evangelicalThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... 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!”

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: Get out the Vote 2004

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.”

Sikh Coalition: Every Voice Counts

The SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... Coalition’s voter registration effort “Every Voice Counts” is described as “a campaign to empower the Sikh people” and “to help SikhsSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... 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 gurdwaraThe gurdwara, “the gateway of the Guru,” is the place for community gathering and worship in the Sikh tradition. The Guru is the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of the Sikh tradition. Each center will include a chamber where the Adi Granth is kept, a...; 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: Faith in Action: Election 2004

Sojourners is “a Christian ministryMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). 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.”

Unitarian Universalist Association: Voter Registration

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.”

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee: Defending Democracy

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.”

United Church of Christ: Our Faith Our Vote

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 churchesThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... actively engaged in “Our Faith Our Vote” efforts.

USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility

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, VaticanThe Vatican is the residence and administrative headquarters of the Pope. Located in the area around St. Peter’s basilica in Rome, it is the official headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican City is the name of the independent state headed by ... statements, a PDF “Family Guide to Faithful Citizenship,” and organizational and practical suggestions for parishA parish is the geographical neighborhood or area served by a church or pastor. staffs, councils, and diocesesA diocese is an administrative unit of the Christian Church, presided over by a bishop..

Venerable Thubten Chodron: “Should Buddhists Vote?”

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 mindfulnessMindfulness or vipassana is a form of Theravada Buddhist meditation practice, directing one’s full attention to the workings of the mind and body, developing “mindfulness” of the contents of consciousness. Such mindfulness is a quality of awareness ... 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.”

Religious Diversity News / Media

Religious Diversity News: Election 2004

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:

The Catholic Vote

The Evangelical Vote

The Jewish Vote

The Muslim Vote

Media:

Beliefnet: Faith & Politics 2004

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 “BuddhismBuddhism is a multi-hued tradition of life, thought, and practice that has developed from the teaching and practice of Siddhartha Gautama (6th century BCE) who came to be called the Buddha, the awakened one. The three major streams of the tradition—Ther... & Politics” and “Muslim Politicians.”

NOW with Bill Moyers: Election 2004, Religion and Politics

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.

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: Religion and Politics

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.”

 

Other Resources:

Brookings Institution Project on Religion and Civil Society

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

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 Coalition

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.