In today’s world of division and misinformation, it is important to be an educated voter. As people of faith, our faith not only informs our opinions on issues that impact our community but it compels us to be active citizens.
Faithful Voices Racial Justice, a project of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, is particularly concerned this year about local elections, both school board and city elections. We are committed to helping voters learn about the values and beliefs of candidates running in local elections and the positions they hold—particularly on issues of race, racism, and racial justice—that impact the local community.
Houses of worship can help educate their members and the public in general on issues and candidate positions. Houses of worship can hold candidate forums. Houses of worship can encourage members and the public to ask questions of candidates. How all that happens matters.
We encourage every voter to become informed about candidates running for public office and to vote in a manner that reflects your own values. We provide these tools to help voters and houses of worship to be engaged in our democracy and the process.
The purpose of candidate forums or any other kind of political forum hosted by a faith community is to provide a civil and welcoming space in which voters can ask questions and be educated on important issues and where candidates for local office stand. Faith communities should understand a forum should not be a partisan event where certain candidates or parties are promoted, but rather that members of faith communities and the public are called to be informed citizens.
In the spirit of non-partisanship, we offer the these guidelines for what to do before, during, and after a candidate forum:
More information, including additional guidelines for houses of worship hosting forums and/or engaging candidates for public office, can be found at Interfaith Alliance, our national office.