Five Things Faith Leaders Can Do to Show Moral Leadership Now

Let’s start easy and move toward more challenging.


  1. Pray. In private and in public – pray for people to put the common good over personal and partisan interest. Pray for justice and peace. Pray for healing of our country. Pray for Christians who have been corrupted by political alliances. Pray for healing of our nation, our communities, our environment, our world. And pray for just, wise, and good leaders who are committed to the truth, who lead with the strength that comes from wisdom and kindness, and who fight against our original sins of racism and greed.
  2. Give your people a theology of voting and set a goal for 100% voter turnout of your members. Lay it out in one or more sermons, or present it in messages delivered by email or mail. If you need help, check out this guide:  If your job is to prepare people to live their faith in daily life, and if this the most important election in their lives so far, why would you fail to prepare them?  That leads to number three.
  3. Promise your people through a pastoral letter that you will set an example by voting – and share with them the top concerns you have in this election because of your faith, values, and spiritual formation. For example, mine would be 1. Honest, trustworthy, exemplary, unselfish leadership (because without that, nothing will work), 2. Dedication to racial justice because of our nation’s unacknowledged history and present practice of racism, 3. Commitment to the poor and vulnerable, especially because they are being hit so hard by COVID-19, 4. Commitment to the environment and to fight climate change – along with our opportunity to create a new economy that is cleaner both environmentally and morally, and 5. Commitment to the well-being of children – through better health care and pay for their parents, through better public education, and through the previous four commitments.
  4. Invite your board to pass the kind of resolution offered here — — so you and your board have clear freedom to speak more directly as an individual citizen using your own time, your own social media, your own equipment etc. In this way, you will become more transparent in setting an example for people in your congregation and in the community at large, fully in accordance with government regulations related to 501(c)3 status.
  5. Publicly endorse and support candidates, federal, state, and local, whom you believe will best fulfill the vision presented above. After all, if you believe people of faith should express their faith in public life, why wouldn’t you set an example? Make these endorsements as an individual and not a representative of your organization, carefully following the law. To make these endorsements intelligently, bring together groups of your fellow faith leaders to have face-to-face meetings with local candidates (digitally, these days) so you can ask them questions, let them ask you questions, and build relationships. Remember: you are leaders in the community they would like to serve, so they should know you and you should know them. If you’re interested in what I’ve done in this regard, here are two examples: for Barack Obama and for Joe Biden.

If you need help in doing this work, there are many excellent organizations who can help you, including Vote Common Good, Faith in Public Life, Pope Francis Voters, and many more.

If you are planning to play it safe and do nothing in the next 60 days, or if you’re planning to take Step 1 and stop there … I encourage you to prayerfully read this document.