National Faith Leaders Participate in Voting Restriction Condemnation

In Georgia, religious leaders have blamed laws restricting access to voting or have asked business executives to face a boycott. In Arizona and Texas, clergy have accused them of gathering outside the State Capitol and seeing it as a voter restraint for blacks and Hispanics.

Similar initiatives are taking place in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, etc., as many religious leaders are aware of the threat to voting rights that justifies intervention in precarious political issues.

“As a Christian, engaging in a public square is part of our tradition,” said Rev. Eric Lederman, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Tempe, Arizona, after an event outside the State Capitol. Said.

“Jesus was very political when people said,’Let’s not be political in the church,'” said Lederman. “He was involved in his culture, how his community was formed, and who was excluded from the decision-making process.”

Georgia has already enacted legislation with various restrictive voting rules. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy think tank, more than 350 voting bills are currently under consideration in dozens of other states. Some of the suggestions include strengthening the requirements for voter IDs, reducing the number of ballot drop boxes, and reducing early voting.

African Methodist Bishop Reginald Jackson, who oversees the AME Church in Georgia, has urged corporate leaders to do more to combat voting restrictions. So far, he says he is dissatisfied with the reaction and may demand a boycott of some companies.

In many states, the voting movement is led by a multi-religious coalition that includes groups of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. This is what some of the leaders of the faith are saying:


Rev. Cassandra Gould, Secretary-General of Missouri Face Voice, whose problem is “very personal”:

“I’m from a small town called Demopolis, Alabama. I was put in jail on Bloody Sunday (1965), 47 miles west of Selma, where my mother fought for her rights …. It’s a story that grew up. I never imagined I was still in the same fight. “

“There are guides to curb voting and reduce voters, and we basically believe that the belief in faith should be expanded to include people rather than exclude them. I will. “


Rev. Warren H. Stewart, Chief Vicar of the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix and Chair of the Union of African-American Christian Clergy in Arizona:

“From Genesis to Revelation, when you read the Bible, it talks about justice, about being on the side of oppressed, oppressed, orphans, and the poor. And this overall issue of voter oppression. Is about fighting voters, the poor, and those who oppress those struggling to achieve it in life, so it’s a matter of justice as well as a matter of revelation. They are cut off. not.”

“The Republican reaction to most people who have voted so far in US history is that we will lose in the future.” Therefore, it is very clear that this is not about accountability or ethics, but about politics. And that’s unjustice, and that’s why we’re here. “


Pastor Frederick Haynes III, Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas:

“We have Texas government leaders, and their ideological DNA has the same idea as a slave master who denied black humanity. Those individuals who supported the separation of Jim and Jane Crow. The same idea …. Governor (Greg) Abbott and his Republican associates have decided to dress up Jim and Jane Crow in a tuxedo of what they call voter integrity, but it’s still Jim and Jane. Crow …. You’re just trying to cause problems for voters who don’t want to vote. “


Rev. Edwin Robinson, Organizer of Dallas Black Crazy:

“Attempts to block voting, on either side of the political aisle, are attempts to deprive us of our greatest freedoms and freedoms …. We do everything to protect our greatest freedoms. We have to do things, and we need to create a way for citizens to vote enthusiastically and be free from fear and intimidation. “


Rev. Anne Ellsworth, Priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine in Tempe:

“I am a pastor of the White Congregation. I am a white man, a Christian, a church famous for his moderate attitude, an Anglican priest …. My interest is to remain silent or helpless. My guiding light is to awaken the knowledge of other white, moderate, Christian women who feel or think it is not important to them. My guiding light is a quote from Martin Luther King. “There is not enough white people to respect and value the principles of democracy beyond their privileges.”

“White Christian women know what it is to silence our voices, and we can’t wait while others’ voices are also silent. We can’t wait. We need to recognize our privileges and use them as a lever to combat the oppression of voters targeting African Americans. “


Rabbi Lydia Medwin in the Temple of Atlanta:

“The Jewish community has responded to the calls of African-American brothers and sisters since the beginning of the civil rights era. Our partners and those we care about tell us,” We When we say, “I’m hurt, we’re being treated unfairly,” we have no reaction other than stepping up. “


Rabbi David Seagull, Texas Organizer of the Religious Action Center for Jewish Reform:

“The opposition to Georgia’s legislation is actually helping us in Texas, because we can point it out and organize anger at those laws trying to stop it here. Because we can …. People of faith represent inclusion, respect, and acceptance and a different kind of justice. “


Atlanta Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to this report.


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.