By Rev. Doral Pulley
As a Spiritual Leader, it is not my role to endorse any candidate for president, governor, mayor, state senate, city council or any other political office. Instead, it is my responsibility to endorse the right for people to vote. It is not my job to tell people for whom to vote, rather it is my duty to encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity of voting.
Voting is our constitutional right as American citizens. Our ancestors fought for all people to have the right to vote regardless of their age, gender, race, culture, creed, religion, orientation, family dynamic, socio-economic status, educational level, criminal background or any other distinction.
It is also my responsibility to lead by example by voting myself. Whom I choose to vote for is private and no one else’s business. I refuse to use my influence to sway people in the direction of one candidate or another. Instead it is my charge to pray for the right and perfect person to be elected to office so that he or she can work for the highest and the best for all his or her constituents.
In addition to endorsing the vote, it is my call to support the entire process that leads to the vote. I endorse people having the right to run for any office for which they qualify and I encourage people who feel so inclined to fill vacancies that match their expertise and passion. I also do everything in my power to encourage people to register to vote so that they can exercise their God given right to make good choices and wise decisions (Deuteronomy 30:19).
As a minister, it is also my duty to establish forums, support debates and encourage healthy dialogue where the issues of our day as well as practical solutions are being discussed. I endorse people voicing their opinions about the issues that concern them. My role is to create and maintain peaceful environments where people can hear and listen to others whose opinions may be different than their own.
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, it is my responsibility that once the election is over to unite people for the greater good of our community no matter who their candidates were (Ephesians 4:3). As a clergyperson, it is also my role to pray for everyone who is in office and everyone elected to an office because ultimately “God is the judge and God puts down one and sets up another (Psalm 75:7).”
It is also my responsibility to hold those in office accountable to what they promised to do and to give them ideas of how to make our community better. Even if I disagree with the views of a person in office, I respect the office that he or she holds and I see him or her as a child of God made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Amidst political challenges, I remind myself and others of the truth that “all things work together for our good because we love God and are the called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28).”
Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Today’s Church Tampa Bay, 940 5th Ave. S, St. Petersburg (Staybridge Suites) and 5107 North Central Ave., Tampa.