"Undecided voters" found in pulpit

The latest "On Faith" offering in the Washington Post on undecided clergy voters features two Episcopalians.

Roger Ferlo speaks on why pastors stay out of declaring a candidate until Election Day:

“A lot of folks don’t want to be pinned down, particularly during such a polarized time,” said the Rev. Roger Ferlo, dean and president of Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Chicago and Bexley Hall Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

Most congregations mix Republicans, Democrats and independents, all of whom fall under pastors’ care. “There’s a danger that you could be reduced to your political opinion,” Ferlo said, “and therefore sacrifice your credibility with one group or another.”

In addition, many mainline Protestants are recovering from rancorous fights over sexuality and the role of gays and lesbians in their churches. “People are tired of the partisan fray,” Ferlo said.

Holly Davis is featured as well as an example of an undecided clergyperson:

The Rev. Holly Davis, the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, Pa., said she hasn’t decided on a candidate, even after the three presidential debates. In fact, the third debate, in which both candidates ignored the debate topic by focusing on the economy instead of foreign policy, made her angry. “They’re so ego driven, they can’t even follow simple instructions,” Davis said.

The 44-year-old said she had an easier time choosing Obama in 2008, when she had just entered the priesthood.

“My thinking is changing,” said Davis, a self-described libertarian who reads Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” every two years. She still doesn’t like big government, but she’s also concerned about her economically depressed community, where each day a half-dozen people drop by her office needing help.

Comments (5)

I think one of the biggest causes of "undecideds" is the utter disgust with the system as it is currently configured. I know people who are literally refusing to vote because the entire process has become so toxic. It almost seems like voting for someone on a reality television series--a billion dollar exercise in political theater.

Given that God is both involved in our world and above all of our partisanship and posturing, it is understandable that "the lesser of two evils" is not an appealing choice.

Undecideds aren't undecided. They're intimidated by those around them with intense preferences contrary to their own. Why pay the cost of a lost relationship?

Especially if your vote has zero chance of making a difference to the outcome of the election. Or not?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magazine/06freak.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

quote/
"What are you doing here?" one asks.

"My husband made me come," the other says.

The first economist gives a confirming nod. "The same."

After a mutually sheepish moment, one of them hatches a plan: "If you promise never to tell anyone you saw me here, I'll never tell anyone I saw you." They shake hands, finish their polling business and scurry off.
/unquote

I think the ballot box is still secret - I bet they know but just aren't telling publicly.

Voting booths accommodate one person at a time for a reason. What transpires in there is the business of nobody but the voter and his/her ballot. That's why it's called "voting by secret ballot." Credible ministry, "seeking and serving Christ in all persons," requires that ministers remain above the political fray, no faction of which completely conforms to the Gospel.

As a priest, I keep my mouth shut about parties and politicians. My job, as I see it, is to keep our focus on the kingdom of God and the life of the spirit. Both parties and all politicians fall short, and I don't endorse or recommend any of them. The world has enough religious people rallying for their candidate or cause, so I guess nobody's missing my voice.

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