Civic engagement refers to the ways in which individuals and groups participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions that shape the community’s future. Participating in civil society by voting, understanding the issues of the day, and engaging in civil and productive conversation with others is one of the many strengths of the United States and an important part of integration for new Americans.
Civic engagement is a key component of integration and building welcoming communities
Voting and participating in civil society are key to both the integration and naturalization processes. When naturalized immigrants and refugees exercise their right to vote, they empower themselves to be full members of their new communities. Even immigrants and refugees who are not yet naturalized, and therefore cannot yet vote, they bring important contributions to social issues important to their communities, through participating in events educating the public about the benefits that newcomers bring to their communities and the need to build stronger, more welcoming communities.
We affirm that it is important for policy makers to take time to meet refugees and immigrants and understand their struggles. Although our various faiths come from many political perspectives, we come together to educate our local policy makers on the importance of building stronger, more welcoming communities. The level of civic engagement in which our network participates helps build champions across party lines, at the local and national levels to create policies that lift up and value refugees and immigrants in our communities. Civic engagement work can also energize current volunteers and develop new leaders, as it brings communities together to engage with policy makers on meeting challenges and building stronger communities.
Our civic engagement work is non-partisan, and does not endorse any candidate or political party
The IIC is made up of non-partisan, 501(c)3 organization. This means that we will not be endorsing parties or candidates, but we will continue, as we always have, to promote welcoming communities.
Check out Church World Service Tool Kit on Civic Engagement at http://supportimmigrationreform.org/?p=2219 and download a copy
IIC Webinar Powerpoint Presentation Welcoming Communities Through Civic Engagement
SOULS TO THE POLLS
Interfaith Immigration Coalition
Initiative to GET OUT THE VOTE!
Why Should We Get Out the Vote?
- The call to promote justice, compassion, and equality is one shared across many faiths. Voting and participating in civil society are key to both the integration and naturalization processes.
- When naturalized immigrants and refugees exercise their right to vote, they empower themselves to be full members of their new communities.
- The goal of a get out the vote campaign is to get as many people from our grassroots base to vote and assist others in the voting process.
SERMONS & FAITH INITIATIVES ON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (Follow Links for More Information)
Rev. Phill Kniss Park View Mennonite Church
Jesus rubbed shoulders with the power structures—religious powers and state powers, the politics of the temple and the politics of Caesar.He was quite willing to confront either one, but not on their terms. The religious politicians were stuck on a certain kind of legalistic righteousness. Jesus confronted their power, but not by taking over their positions in the temple, and enforcing a new righteousness. He confronted their power by touching lepers, eating with tax collectors, hanging with sinful women, and otherwise living a different kind of righteousness. He practiced the politics of radical love.
Rev. Chuck Currie, United Church of Christ
Part of what the Bible provides is a philosophy of how to led both our private and our public lives. If we are compassionate to the individuals we encounter and concerned with justice above all else in community affairs then it is said we are building up God’s Kingdom. It is always easier for a minister to talk about personal responsibility than it is to talk about what we need to do to improve society. But we cannot as Christians afford to forget about the larger world because Jesus didn’t and part of our obligation as the faithful is to follow Jesus even into difficult places.
The Christian in the Voting Booth By Lutheran Rev. Richard Futrell
From a Christian worldview, we see voting as a divine gift that allows us to think the way God thinks, to act the way He acts. Through voting, we can see others the way God sees them in His mercy. It’s a way to show mercy and compassion, in the way God shows mercy and compassion. As Scripture says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Catholic Bishops- Consciousness for Faithful Participation
We urge our Catholic pastors and people to continue to use this important statement to help them form their consciences, to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue, and to shape their choices in the coming election in the light of Catholic teaching. The statement lifts up our dual heritage as both faithful Catholics and American citizens. We are members of a community of faith with a long tradition of teaching and action on human life, and dignity, marriage and family, justice and peace, care for creation, and the common good.
National Council of Churches Christian Principles
Our faith compels us to address the world through the lens of our relationship to God and to one another. Public discourse is enhanced as we engage civic leaders on the values and ethics affirmed by our faith.
Reform Judaism Resources on Voter Engagement
As people of faith and American citizens we have an obligation to participate in the elections to ensure that our country’s policies at the local, state and national levels reflect our commitment to social justice. Please see sample voter engagement guide for Reform Jewish Congregations at
Preachers Prepare to Get Souls to the Polls
“Our duty today,” said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, before a crowd of African-American clergy members, “is to remember that the Bible tell us: ‘For lack of knowledge, the people perish.’ ” The Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches joined forces on Wednesday for their inaugural Faith Leaders Summit on Voting Rights. The Washington, D.C., forum, attended by members of Congress and about 200 leaders from black churches across the country, was designed to inform attendees about restrictive state-level voting laws passed around the country and to empower them to share with their home congregations information about surmounting subsequent voting obstacles.