As a follower of Jesus it is your duty to vote, says US Episcopal Church leader

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is urging everyone to use their vote in the coming electionsReuters

The leader of the US Episcopal Church is calling on all Americans to remember their "duty" and "obligation" to vote.

In a video posted as part of The Episcopal Church's election resources, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says it is time for citizens to prepare to elect their new president as well as governmental leaders on a variety of levels.

America heads to the polls on 8 November. The church has launched an "election pledge" as part of its campaign to persuade all citizens to use their vote.

Curry says: "We are blessed. We are blessed as a nation to be able to do so as citizens of this country. This is a right, an obligation, and a duty."

The privilege to be able to vote was won through an American revolution, he notes, and furthered through civil rights and women's suffrage.

"So I encourage you to please go and vote. Vote your conscience. Vote your perspective. But vote."

He says voting is a Christian obligation.

Citing Romans 13, where Paul outlines the duty to engage with the process of government, he says: "Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process."

St Paul says: "Pay to all them that is due them. Taxes to whom taxes are due. Revenue to whom revenue is due. Respect to whom respect is due. Honor to whom honor is due."

He continues: "So owe no-one anything except to love one another. For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments 'You shall not commit adultery', 'You shall not murder', 'You shall not steal', 'You shall not covet', any other commandment, they are all summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Curry says: "For St. Paul, the way of love, the love of neighbor, is the fulfilling not only of the moral law of God, but the way to fulfill the civil law. Go and vote. Vote your conscience. Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor. To participate in the process of seeking the common good. To participate in the process of making this a better world. However you vote, go and vote. And do that as a follower of Jesus."