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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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In Politically Fraught Landscape, NC Voters Seek Moral Guidance

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020   

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A month-long virtual series organized by the North Carolina Council of Churches aims to inform voters who might feel overwhelmed in an era of misinformation and political polarization.

The Rev. Isaac Villegas, pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, said Americans always have turned to faith to guide decisions about who they vote for, but faith communities now are bridging the gap to help voters understand how specific policies align with their values.

"When we cast our votes, we ask elected officials to commit to the values that we care about," he said. "What I would like voters to pay attention to is how people running for office - what they want for society, what kind of society do they want for us, and for our people?"

Villegas, president-elect of the North Carolina Council of Churches, is to speak today as part of an online forum focused on immigrants as community members and neighbors. People can register online here.

Other forum topics this month include voters' rights, racial justice, LGBTQ issues and climate change.

For decades, said Kokou Nayo, a refugee organizer for Church World Service, congregations have played a role in issues central to national debates, including immigration and refugee resettlement. Through the virtual forums, he said, North Carolinians have the chance to step back from party affiliation.

"It's the only place where we can come and take off our political 'jackets' and talk as neighbors and community members," he said.

In the pandemic, said Vanna Fox, North Carolina Council of Churches development director, grassroots groups are coming up with creative ways to reach voters who might otherwise have come to these types of community events in person.

"Now is such an important time to get straight answers and clear, clean information," she said, "and moving to these virtual events has really given us that opportunity to pass on that kind of information to anybody who's interested."

The group Faith in Public Life, in partnership with Interfaith Power & Light, also has developed a "Voter Reflection Guide" for the 2020 general election. It's posted here and on the North Carolina Council of Churches website.

Disclosure: North Carolina Council of Churches contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Immigrant Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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