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ONE Campaign launches bipartisan ad ahead of Election Day, urges considerate voting
Episcopal Public Policy Network offers resources for voters

By Matthew Davies
[Episcopal News Service]  ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, a movement of more than 2.4 million Americans backed by the Episcopal Church at its 75th General Convention, has launched a new public service announcement to encourage “considerate voting” in the upcoming November elections and to engage millions of Americans in the opportunity to help fight global AIDS and extreme poverty.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Public Policy Network upheld voting as critical to striving for justice and peace in the Episcopal Church and provided resources "to help you make the most of your opportunity to vote," an October 13 release said. That release encouraged all Episcopalians to sign the ONE voter pledge, a promise to vote and to educate one's own self and community on issues of global poverty.

"This November, Americans who are committed to ending deadly poverty around the world have an opportunity to make their voices heard at the ballot box," said Alexander Baumgarten, international policy analyst for the Episcopal Church. "As the ONE Campaign's new ad makes very clear, the fight against poverty and disease worldwide is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue, but an issue of our most basic values as Americans and people of faith."

The Episcopal Church, at its General Convention in June 2006, announced a new partnership with the ONE Campaign called "ONE Episcopalian." The Convention asked all parishes, missions, congregations, dioceses and individuals to join the "ONE Episcopalian" effort, which Baumgarten described as an opportunity to unite the voices of Episcopalians with the 2.4 million other Americans working for the MDGs through ONE.

The ONE Campaign's new ad, titled "ONE Vote," is being featured on both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee websites on October 24, as well as the front pages of internet platforms such as MySpace, Yahoo!, AOL, Google Video and

The ad brings together actors Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Alfre Woodard; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady; singer/songwriter Toby Keith; journalist Nick Clooney; faith leaders Pastor Rick Warren and Bishop Charles E. Blake; Democratic and Republican strategists Mike McCurry and Jack Oliver; and Shayne Moore, a stay-at-home mom and ONE supporter from Wheaton, Illinois.

"By voting on November 7, every American can get involved in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty, by exercising our most precious and fundamental right," said Democratic National Committee communications director Karen Finney. "We're pleased to join in support of such an important issue and encourage every American to vote and make their voice heard on Election Day."

"This is something all Americans can do together," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "We are happy to play a part in the critical battle to eradicate poverty and global AIDS."

Republican strategist Jack Oliver echoed those sentiments. "America's greatest strength is our compassion and willingness to be engaged on the world stage," said Oliver. "ONE's 'base' is really both bases -- Republicans and Democrats can come together to make sure that the voices of the billion people who live on less than $1 a day are heard both in this election and the 2008 presidential cycle."

"This is something all Americans can do together across party lines," said Democratic strategist Mike McCurry. "For the first time, we have real solutions that work in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty, and America can help lead the world in saving and changing lives."

According to Baumgarten, the ad and the ONE voter pledge form a perfect dovetail with the Episcopal Church's historic work to encourage informed voting by all Americans.

"The Prayer Book tells us that one of the ways the church pursues its mission in the world is through each of our efforts to promote justice and peace in the world," said Baumgarten. "Voting -- which Father Theodore Hesburgh famously called a 'civic sacrament' -- offers an opportunity for people to work, one by one, for a world that reflects God's passionate desire for the full flourishing of all human beings."

"Episcopalians often ask what one person can do to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals," Baumgarten added. "On November 7, it's clear that there is no more important thing than any of us can do than go to the polls with the intent to make poverty history."