By Joseph Peter Calleja
A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has offered some advice to more than four million Filipino-Americans on how to vote in the run-up to the presidential election in the United States in just over two weeks.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan urged voters to follow their conscience using no other than the life of Jesus Christ as their guide for voting.
“When you decide who to vote for, please say I will vote as Jesus would vote. This is what you should do in the ballot, that is how you decide,” he told a U.S.-sponsored online discussion called “Empowered Philippines”.
Archbishop Villegas also said that Filipino-Americans should never lose their sense of patriotism even if they are not residing in the Philippines.
“Voting like Jesus would mean you care about the things that God cares about,” Archbishop Villegas added.
Americans go to the polls on Nov. 3 to decide whether US President Donald Trump will serve a second four-year term or whether Democrat candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden will sit in the White House.
Biden has led in the polls but Trump’s allies say they are “not necessarily a good way” to predict the result of the election.
Archbishop Villegas reminded Filipino-Americans that to make America great again, Americans must put God first especially in the elections.
“If you will vote like God, you will vote selflessly. You are not going to vote according to the benefits that you will get but according to God’s plan for America,” he said.
The Filipino prelate also reminded them of their role in the church, the body of Christ.
Archbishop Villegas also warned American voters that they had no right to complain if they do not vote according to their conscience.
“[If] you go against Jesus, you are going against who you really are, and therefore, you have no right to complain later on. You have put that judgment, condemnation on yourself because you went beyond yourself, you violated yourself. So be who you are,” he added.
Archbishop Villegas also highlighted the importance of prayer during election times.
“You have to pray because Jesus will not be able to speak to you about who he will vote for unless you are attuned to his heart.”
Filipino–Americans involved in the discussion thanked the archbishop for reminding them of their “sacred duty” in choosing the next leader of the most powerful country in the world.
“His words gently remind us of not only a political duty or an exercise of a right, but also a sacred and moral obligation,” said Carol Grey, who also urged her fellow Filipino-Americans to listen to the archbishop’s advice.