Bishops in the province of Ontario are wading into secular politics and have issued a pamphlet to help Anglicans ask questions of their local candidates in the Oct. 2 provincial election.
The pamphlet, entitled As We Consider This Election, encourages Anglicans not only to vote but to support “candidates and parties you think will best work to further our common good.” Voters are also urged to consider three issues in which the church “has taken a particular interest:” housing and homelessness; faith education in the public school system and government-sponsored gambling. In the document, the bishops urge the provincial government to make affordable housing a priority, establish a mandatory curriculum to teach students about world faiths, and curtail the use of “large-scale organized gambling” to fund government and charitable programs.
The diocese of Toronto also encouraged Anglicans to question election candidates about social policy issues.
The text of the pamphlet appeared on diocesan Web sites and in full in the September issue of the Toronto Anglican newspaper. Churches were invited to download the pamphlet for inclusion in Sunday bulletins.
Meanwhile, an Ottawa parish known for its work in social justice offered on its Web site five “issue bulletins,” also to help voters. The bulletins, which were produced by Faith Partners, a local interfaith network, describe five different social policy issues (affordable housing, health care, child care, poverty and homelessness), give a brief faith perspective, and offer questions that electors might ask of election candidates. They are available for download from the Web site of the church of St. John, http://www.cyberus.ca/~stjohns.