Finding God on Gannon’s campus: Voting provides way to care for poor and oppressed citizens

Finding God on Gannon’s campus: Voting provides way to care for poor and oppressed citizens

Once again, another Election Day has come and passed.
I was grateful for the opportunity to take part in the election by casting my ballot, and just as grateful to see fellow students and staff excited to vote –– some for the very first time.
I witnessed an overwhelming amount of encouragement on campus for one another to get to the polls and take full advantage of our right to vote.
I also witnessed a lot of important discussions taking place over the past few weeks leading up to Election Day.
Each election brings up many issues, including social justice issues, and gets people talking.
Elections give us a chance to voice our opinions and stand up for what we believe is right, something we are encouraged to do within the Catholic Church.
In fact, an important piece of Catholic teaching is the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
This lays out a very important message on social justice as well as important guidelines to follow in our daily lives in order to really live out the Catholic faith by loving all our brothers and sisters and treating all living things with the respect and dignity they deserve.
The Seven Themes are as follows: Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Call to Family, Community and Participation, Rights and Responsibilities, Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers, Solidarity and Care for God’s Creation.
These seven themes set out the way in which we need to care for all people, as every person is made in the image of God.
That means that we are to care for individuals regardless of race, gender, economic status, sexual orientation, occupation, etc., something we need to keep in mind when we’re having these important discussions involving social justice issues.
The Bible says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31: 8-9.
It is our Christian duty to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, speak for those who can’t and fight for the rights of those who are oppressed.
It is our duty to recognize and call out oppression and injustice when we see it, and do everything in our power to put a stop to it.
One way we are able to do that is by participating in elections and making our voices heard.
By voting, we are able to stand up for what we believe in and vote for the candidates who we believe support the rights of those we are called to love and care for.
Again, I am so grateful to have seen so many people on campus making it out to the polls for Election Day to cast their votes and so many individuals participating in these conversations we so desperately need.
We need to bring light to injustice in any way possible, as we are called by God to do so, and this is certainly a start.

GRACE DENNIS
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