“We ask citizens to take part in the political affairs of our country actively. The first and most important step is to make up one’s responsible judgement on the possible choices, and then exercise one’s right to vote”, because “democracy lives through participation of citizens”: it was written today in a message by the President of the Council of the Evangelical Church, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, and President of the Bishops’ Conference Card. Reinhard Marx, with a view to Bundestag elections (24 September). “The more people go to the polls, and the stronger the mandate of those taking on their responsibilities will be”. At stake: “freedom and peace, well-being, defence of cohesion and diversity, and responsibility for the general level of our country“, rendered “multiform and richer” by immigration. The electors have the task to reflect on “which political position and which political parties are able to strengthen cohesion and improve our life in common”. Three choice criteria: “readiness to listen to the people and respectful, nonviolent and peaceful ways” to carry on political debate; openness, and taking on “responsibilities for the poorest and the deprived“, without “discrediting or excluding” anyone for their “faith, colour of the skin, sexual orientation or ethnicity”. Finally: defence of European unity “as a priceless value”, to be carried on “with new energy, avoiding nationalistic selfishness”.