By Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, MSC
The National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns in the Inland Empire (NEFFCON-IE) — a faith-based organization of Filipino Americans that promotes the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the Philippines and in the U.S. in dialogue with other national ethnic groups that compose American society — call on all Californians to get out and vote in the upcoming recall election on September 14, 2021.
Our call is inspired by our faith imperative: “Religion pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world,” (James 1:27). We are called to engage in the realities of the material world, following the footsteps of Jesus, as his disciples: “The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
“We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.” (Pope Francis, 9/16/13, as quoted in the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship).
“We are called to witness to Faithful Citizenship as we participate in the public square through political engagement and civil dialogue” (YouTube Video on Catholic Participate in Public Life, also in USCCB website on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship).
The concrete mechanism for our political engagement
The upcoming statewide recall election is an opportunity for us, people of faith, and for all responsible citizens from all walks of life to exercise our freedom and make our voices heard on who should manage the affairs of our State on our behalf.
To clarify, the recall ballot only has two questions:
“(1) Do you want to recall Governor Newsom?
(2) If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?”
There are many names to choose from. We urge you to be acquainted with these candidates whose names appear on the California Secretary of State website.
“If 50% or more vote NO, the governor would remain in office. If more than 50% vote YES, the governor would be removed from office and the person with the most votes would replace him.”
You can vote on either one or both parts of the recall ballot. You can return your completed ballot by mail in the pre-paid postage vote-by-mail envelope as long as it’s postmarked by September 14, 2021 or in person by placing your completed ballot in the specified secured drop box to a voting location or your county elections office by 8:00 p.m. PST on September 14, 2021.
“If you have recently moved or if you would like to register, go to RegistertoVote.ca.gov and register. In-person voting locations will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance to those who need it,” according to the secretary of state.
Political love, effective love for the common good
We close this call with a happy note: rejoice in our political engagement. It arises from the spirit of charity, of social love for the common good. “For whereas individuals can help others in need, when they join together in initiating social processes of fraternity and justice for all, they enter the ‘field of charity at its most vast, namely political charity’. This entails working for a social and political order whose soul is social charity. Once more, I appeal for a renewed appreciation of politics as “a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good”. (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 180).
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, MSC, is a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC).