Politics in Faith Communities

Conversation Guide

The First Amendment of our Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" Under the Internal Revenue Code, 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. In light of this amendment and regulation, and in the context of the political division in our country, how do we conduct ourselves as people of faith who are also responsible citizens?

Background Information:

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

Your thoughts and concerns

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What does separation of religion and state mean to you when you gather for worship?
  • How and where do you want to talk about the pressing issues of our communities and country?
  • What does "political" mean to you?
  • What does “social justice” mean to you?
  • What community worship experience affirms your faith and helps you live into your values in your daily life?
  • Has there been a time when you’ve seen merit in a position you disagree with?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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