Preach, pray and vote: Las Vegas Valley pastors deliver sermons Sunday urging people to vote

Published: Oct. 9, 2022 at 7:13 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Church pastors pushed people to get to the polls Sunday in a valley-wide effort at more than 30 Black-led church congregations on the Historic Westside and in North Las Vegas. The partnership was led by multi-faith nonprofit Faith in Action Nevada.

The Sunday morning services featured voter registration, faith-centered messaging about voting, 100% voting congregation pledge signing and non-partisan information sharing about this year’s midterm election. Congregations showed solidarity by all wearing “We Will Vote” t-shirts during service.

Las Vegas faith leaders, like First AME Church’s Reverend Dr. Karen Anderson, led sermons inspiring people to get to the polls.

“I know I felt it, and they looked like they were feeling it, and maybe they’re gonna go out and vote,” said Stephanie Montoya, longtime member of the First AME Church.

Anderson’s sermon was centered on the idea of “choosing wisely.”

“All of us children will live together in harmony and peace, but we must choose wisely,” said Anderson in her sermon. “Let me tell you something, you can kill your spirit when you let other people compromise your values.”

Anderson weaved the ideas of faith, morality and voting into each other.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely,” said Anderson.

Montoya said she routinely votes, but hopes that Sunday’s service will encourage others who were potentially unlikely to partake this year.

“So often people think that they’re just one person,” said Montoya.

That is something that Shaunda Johnson, executive director of Faith in Action Nevada, is hoping to achieve with their valley-wide efforts.

“We know that our voter turnout numbers are lowest during midterm elections, and so that’s the reason for prioritizing African American-led congregations,” said Johnson.

She added, “Our faith is not just about what happens in the four walls of the church, but it’s how we act it out in public.”

That is something Montoya is optimistic about, given today’s voting event.

“People look up to their pastors,” she said. “That’s your right, and you should use it.”

Faith in Action Nevada is also holding an early voting event called Souls to the Polls on October 22 in Las Vegas. Churches will utilize church vans and buses, and will caravan people to assist them with getting to polling sites during early voting. Click here to learn more.