Volume 12, Issue 2, August, 2004
Bay Area Pax Christi
For those of us who have heard the call of the nonviolent Christ, it is difficult to look at the upcoming elections, in which there is very little in terms of viable candidates who promote a consistent ethic of life. But many of us are overwhelmed by what is becoming of our country and our state. We have seen a pre-emptive war, continued violence throughout the world, especially in the Mideast, and a continuing shift of money to the rich, leaving the poorest people suffering and ignored. Even the middle class is shrinking. Our defense budget continues to burst at the seams, growing to numbers that speak volumes about our moral priorities.
In our state, we have seen an erosion of support for people at the bottom of the economic ladder. The priority in this state is to protect the wealthy at the cost of helping those who need it most. We continue to grow our prison population with those whose poverty has led them to crime.
What would a prophet do? If the prophet would vote, she would choose those candidates and vote on issues in a way that reflected morality based on the peace of Christ, Pax Christi. How do you vote when the options are so poor?
In the midst of these thoughts that we may wrestle with, religion has become a staple in campaigns. There are, especially, campaigns to pursue the “Catholic vote” on the basis of one issue, the anti-abortion position of the Republican party. That leaves many of us saying what about life! What about love and justice for the poor and oppressed! What about respect and dignity for all people!
So what do we do? Our bishops have placed special emphasis on this year’s election in a program called “Faithful Citizenship.” Pax Christi USA has a campaign in support of that program and centered around peace and justice and our faith. As part of it, they are raising money to pay for an article in two major Catholic publications: Our Sunday Visitor and U.S. Catholic.
“Called to Embrace All of Life:
The first thing we can do is sign on as individual or group supporters of Pax Christi USA’s statement. To do this, you need to read it, and then you need to get your endorsement to Pax Christi USA before September 1st!
The second thing we can do is make sure we know why we will vote for whoever or whatever for national, state, and local positions and issues. And we need to prepare ourselves so that we understand the issues well enough and can participate in the process for getting other voters to vote with well-formed consciences for a world that will reject war, violence, and injustice.
To help us with that, we have put together our Fall information day, October 2nd, for just that purpose. The program challenges you to be prophets, to prepare yourselves for the last month before the election to solidify your choices and prepare you to work to lead others to vote for a moral country and state.
The keynote speaker will be Jerome Baggett, Professor of Religion and Society at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His research and interests include religion, democracy, Catholic parishes and civic participation, and religion and social theory.
Following his presentation, which will help us solidify the faith foundations that motivate us to vote for peace and justice, we will have a workshop. Working Partnerships, who have worked with the Interfaith Council in Santa Clara and with various labor groups to promote social justice and to bring people of faith to organize and act, will provide the workshop. They will help us to identify what we can do in the last 30 days before the election to help to turn out voters who have understood the Gospel call to peace and nonviolence and to justice.
This promises to be an exciting day to help us prepare for what might be one of the most important elections of our time. At all levels, national, state, and local, it is time to raise the voices of a people of hope and love.
Finally, after the workshop, Bay Area Pax Christi, representing Northern California, will present a summary of several important Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi International meetings and activities. And we have the pleasure of formally announcing some awards.
So go to the Fall Event Flyer, read the flyer, fill out the registration form, and we’ll see you on October 2nd! You can also download a .pdf version of the flyer and pass it around to everyone!
Date Last Modified: 8/15/02