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Voting to apply your Values to Civic Action

Originally Published Oct 1, 2020

On a morning in September, I was listening, as I often do, to an 8:30 a.m. KSRO broadcast of the Sunday message from Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen of the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa.

The topic was “voting your values and vision.”

Rev. Edward’s talk was based on a white paper created by the Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement Committee of Centers for Spiritual Living.

While the document finds its basis in Science of Mind teaching, it is an extremely valuable tool for any person of any faith, or no faith, as a way to apply what one believes and values to civic action.

It also includes resources on how to register to vote, how to check registration status, a first time voter checklist and other information, including the IRS rules about endorsing political candidates from the pulpit (not allowed!).

What I liked about the Guide to Voting is that it lays out an interfaith, values-based approach to exercising one’s personal franchise on matters of Democracy & Voting Rights, Climate Justice, Loving our Immigrant Neighbors, an Economy of Inclusion, Moral Health Policies in a Time of Pandemic, Restorative & Racial Justice, Respecting the Dignity of LGBTQ People, and the Global Common Good.

It does not tell what party or candidate to vote for. It gives a method to lovingly approach these issues that political parties and candidates are talking about.

“The world is perhaps at the point of the greatest crisis in all human history, and there seems to be two attitudes we can assume. One is calmness, faith and conviction; the other would be despair...Let each, in [their] own way, dedicate [their] time, service, hope and spiritual conviction to the common cause of liberty and justice for all. And let’s work without tiring and pray without ceasing.”

This quote from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Science of Mind (the philosophic underpinnings of Centers for Spiritual Living) is the perfect epigram for the Guide to Voting even though Holmes lived and wrote in the first half of the 20th century.

Center for Spiritual Living Guide to Voting:

Values and How to Vision

What does it mean for eligible voters to consider each candidate, ballot initiative and policy in light of values? Some examples of values a person can hold are: accountability; integrity; compassion and caring; financial health; creativity; diversity and inclusivity; community service; environmental sustainability. Make your own list.

Visioning has to do with “seeing” the result one desires, for example, “I see a world that works for everyone;” “where unity and connection are emphasized;” “where forgiveness is the norm;” “where people have enough food, homes, and a sense of belonging.” Again, create your own picture of a society you would find exciting, nourishing, safe and satisfying.

If this process seems strange or difficult, the Center for Spiritual Living team gives a step-by-step method for visioning according to one’s values. Some tips that I found helpful were to allow sufficient, uninterrupted time to do visioning, to avoid judging, analyzing or editing, to be patient and open to the vision coming to you in a variety of ways (a feeling, a color, an image, an intuition). These guidelines resemble those that many organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, use in creating their mission and vision statements.

As I’ve sometimes found myself raging at blatant corruption, law breaking with impunity and outright lying at the highest levels of government, I had to examine my own conscience in light of another quote from Ernest Holmes presented in the Centers for Spiritual Living voting guide: “We cannot afford to hold personal animosities or enmities against the world or individual members of society.”

Participate! Don’t skip this opportunity to be heard.

I know it has been said many times, but it feels to me like the upcoming ballot is a last chance (to begin) to mitigate the damage that has been done in the last four years, and to think about the society we want our children and grandchildren to inherit.


What is the basic meaning of democracy? Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.



The League of Women Voters put together a resource where people all over the United States can find out important information about polling places and deadlines for voting: Check your registration status, track your mail-in ballot find your polling lace, learn about local debates.

LWV Recorded Candidate forums @ go to

League of Women Voters Candidate Forums:
League of Women Voters Candidate Forums:
League of Women Voters RECORDED Candidate Forums:
League of Women Voters RECORDED Candidate Forums:

SMSE Politics and Social Activism Legal PowerPoint 2019:

The Balance Small Business: How Political Activity by Nonprofits is Regulated:

Center for Spiritual Living Guide to Voting:

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