Rev. Dr. Curran Reichert
January 24, 2021
Recently I was waiting in the car for my wife Katie to pick up something at the store and heard an interview with an Evangelical pastor located in the rural Midwest of our country- what he had to say got my attention. He said that equitable voting rights is the single most important faith issue in America today. He went further to say that any pastor who is not talking about the injustice of voter suppression is not doing their job. I believe this pastor is correct, and am certain that I personally have not been vocal enough on this issue. I often feel I do not know exactly what to say or how to say it, as such I was relieved when Susan Hendershot the Executive Director of Interfaith Power & Light produced a comprehensive call to action which I have borrowed heavily from in what follows:
“As people of faith and conscience, we believe that all human beings have inherent dignity and worth. And therefore, all Americans should have equal access to the ballot box.
Voting is the very foundation of representative democracy. By ensuring people a voice in their government, the right to vote promotes a more equitable society and provides an essential safeguard against tyranny. Currently this most basic right has been undermined by courts and politicians to make it harder for citizens to participate in the political process. Erecting obstacles to voting is a violation of our most sacred values, and weakens our democracy.
In a highly controversial decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned key elements of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Since then, numerous state legislatures have put up roadblocks to voting, including purging registered voters from the voter rolls without notifying them, closing hundreds of polling places in communities of color, restricting voter registration time periods, and requiring voters to show forms of ID that many people don’t have. In 2020, the Supreme Court even denied extending voting by mail in Wisconsin during the Covid 19 pandemic, forcing many to choose between risking their health at crowded polling places or sacrificing their vote.
In 2021, we saw state after state whittle away at voting access – enacting new restrictions and requirements to vote, shortening the time period to vote, limiting vote by mail, and even making it a crime to give water and food to people waiting in line at polling places.
Redistricting and voting restrictions disproportionately affect people of color, low-wealth communities, and young people – are the people most likely to be targeted by politicized This is wrong. Their voices deserve to be heard equally with others.
We must encourage our State Senators to move quickly to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as it would protect voters against discriminatory changes to voting rules that target communities on the basis of race or background. The Freedom to Vote Act would protect and expand voting rights, take steps to remove ill gotten money from political campaigns, and limit partisan gerrymandering.” (Susan Hendershot)
Today people of faith and conscience have a moral duty to protect democracy, racial justice, and equity for all people. Voter suppression targets and disproportionately harms people of color, poor and young people. Use your voice to make a difference, do it honor of the Rev. Dr King Junior who taught us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen. Let us do our part to make it happen.
Rev. Curran Reichert
Alex Padilla https://www.padilla.senate.gov/contact/contact-form/
Dianne Feinstein https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact