O God, our Creator, through our elected leaders and our government, you sustain all you have made. We pray especially for people who are seeking election to political offices in our country. Grant them integrity and wisdom to focus on matters that strengthen our government and provide help and opportunity to people in need. Give us courage to challenge candidates to address issues of hunger and poverty. As we prepare to cast our votes, may we be guided by your vision of love, justice, and mercy. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.The national coverage of the elections has centered on the candidates seeking to occupy the Oval Office. However, every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate seats will be on the ballot this November. And there are gubernatorial and state legislative elections.
According to a survey commissioned by Bread for the World, a majority of voters want all those candidates to address hunger and poverty in some form.
Here are the results of the survey:
- 64 out of every 100 voters polled consider ending hunger as one of the most important priorities for the U.S. government.
- 39 out of every 100 voters surveyed strongly believe that political candidates must fight for funding for anti-hunger programs to earn their vote.
- 42 out of every 100 voters polled firmly believe that God calls them to care for their neighbors, especially poor and hungry people. They have a religious obligation to support anti-hunger programs.
- Voters were overwhelmingly concerned about children going hungry, veterans who need to use food stamps to feed their families, and working families unable to buy enough food.
- The majority of the voters polled said that federal programs that meet the needs of children, veterans, and working families should be the priority for funding by the government. Programs focused on these groups were considered among the most effective.
- The majority of the voters surveyed believe that the government, churches, and communities must work together to end hunger.
The Mellman Group and the Eleison Group conducted Bread for the World’s 2016 Elections Survey. They conducted the poll Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2015, as part of Bread’s preparations for its elections work in 2016. A total of 1,000 respondents, representing the likely 2016 electorate nationally, were polled. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.
Along with the results of the survey, Bread for the World published a guide entitled "The Bible and Elections."
Below are some excerpts. Use this link to download the guide in PDF format.
We can’t end hunger in our own country and overseas unless we have leaders in our federal government who make this a priority.
The leaders we elect make decisions that impact people who are poor and hungry here in the United States and around the world. Congress and the administration can lead in moving toward a world without hunger.
They can do this by enacting policies and programs that create jobs, strengthen the safety net, invest in human capital development, support community-initiated public-private partnerships, and support international efforts to end hunger and poverty worldwide.
Evaluating candidates and then voting is essential to our democracy and faith. Giving time and money to candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to reducing widespread hunger and poverty is also important. This is good stewardship of ourselves and our money.
In our democracy, constituents can ask questions and receive information about a candidate’s position on issues of hunger and poverty. We can also share that information with our friends and neighbors—to help them cast their votes for the best candidate. In this way we continue in the tradition of the prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, who called nations and their rulers to account for their behavior.
Our participation in elections is an extension of our ongoing advocacy with Congress. Political campaigns, town hall gatherings, and meetings with candidates provide opportunities for us to “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and destitute” (Psalm 82:3). When we involve ourselves in elections, we “speak out for those who cannot speak…[and] defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
What You Can Do
- Pray for candidates in elections. Ask God to direct them to uphold justice and care for people in need and all who are vulnerable in our own country and the world.
- Pray for all those who participate in the elections process, but especially those of Christian faith, that they would be examples of humility and grace.
- Attend town hall meetings and other gatherings to meet candidates. Ask candidates to state their positions on measures that reduce hunger and poverty.