Help Wanted. Before I tackle this week’s column, I want to remind everybody that the Nebraska Catholic Conference is taking applications for our new Statewide Pro-Life Activities Coordinator. This position will oversee public education, prayer and worship, and pastoral care efforts across the state of Nebraska. This position will also supplement the great work already being done by Marion Miner on pro-life and family public policy efforts. This addition to our NCC team is a major step forward for the pro-life movement, as it will give us more human resources to ensure that a variety of pro-life efforts are getting attention throughout the year.
If you or somebody you know is interested in the position, they can visit www.necatholic.org for more information. Send a cover letter and resume to me by Sept. 25. In the meanwhile, please pray that the Lord give us discernment as we seek out the best candidate for advancing the Gospel of Life in Nebraska!
Counting Down to Election Day. Believe it or not, this year’s General Election is less than two months away. It seems like yesterday that we were watching the political face-off between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In these coronavirus days we live in, Election Day still maintains its importance, but the Primary Election taught us something very important: going to the ballot box is not the only way for one to exercise their right to vote. Nebraskans turned out in record numbers to cast their ballot by mail. And it is likely that much of the same will take place this time around.
As many consider early voting, the following dates should be kept in mind. July 6 marked the first day that early voting requests could be accepted. Beginning Sept. 28, early voting ballots will be mailed out. On Oct. 5, early voting at county election offices commences. Oct. 28 is the last day to request an early voting ballot to be sent to you. And Nov. 2 is the last day for early voting in county election offices as Nov. 3 is Election Day.
Up and Down the Ticket. As we all prepare ourselves for Election Day, one important piece of advice always bears repeating: while it is important to be prepared to vote in major races, like the U.S. Presidency, it is just as important to pay attention to the “down ballot”—to all those races listed after the big ticket races, like the Presidency, U.S. Senate, and U.S House of Representatives. In short, it is important to be informed and cast your ballot even for the proverbial city dog catcher.
While the presidency undoubtedly has tremendous impact on the trajectory of our nation, the adage has equal force: all politics is local.
Any number of issues—whether they are those related to unborn life, marriage and family, education, poverty, taxes, housing, criminal reform, care for creation, among so many others—are determined by any number of more local elected offices. Whether it is somebody running for a Natural Resources District or another person running for the local school board or some other person running for the city council or county board, these elected offices matter.
They deserve our attention, regardless of their relative obscurity. It is these local races that make the inscription on the north facade of the State Capitol ring ever true: “Salvation of the State is Watchfulness of the Citizen.”
Begin/Continue Your Formation. As the U.S. Bishops document on political responsibility, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, states: “As Catholics, we bring the richness of our faith to the public square. We draw from both faith and reason as we seek to affirm the dignity of the human person and the common good for all.” Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means bringing that encounter with Him, that has radically changed our lives, to bear on Election Day. This is a unique gift we have received as believers. It is also a unique responsibility. As we march toward Election Day, I will be offering weekly columns on those basic moral principles the U.S. Bishops lay out in Faithful Citizenship. In the meanwhile, I invite you to do some homework as well, to take time to read their document and to begin more closely assessing candidates for public office as we approach Election Day!
St. Thomas More, pray for us!