Religious Leaders Call on Senate to Pass Voting Law – Unsuccessful – Baptist News Global

Rejection by the United States Senate on January 19 the adoption of the voting rights law sent to him by the House of Representatives took place despite appeals from religious leaders across the country in the week of Martin Luther King’s celebrations.

The National Council of Churches issued a statement Jan. 17 calling on the Senate to pass the Voting Rights Act, known as the John R. Lewis Act, as a moral imperative.

“American democracy is at a turning point,” the council said. “Voting rights are hanging in the balance again and we are forced to talk about the urgency of passing critical laws to ensure the right to vote in our nation.”

The NCC statement points to its 1963 Declaration of Human Rights Policy on the inherent value, rights and responsibilities of all persons.

“The right to vote is the very center and core of a fair and free democracy. Denying access to the vote means denying the very humanity and holiness of those who have been denied. ”

The statement recognizes “the right to full participation of a person in political and civic life, including the possibility of secret ballot”. He further states that the right to vote is a “fundamental human right”.

Speaking about the current moment, the NCC statement states: “When the rights of one are denied, we are all affected. We must stand together to ensure full acceptance and citizenship for all in our society, guaranteeing and protecting the human rights of every person on an equal basis. The right to vote is the very center and core of a just and free democracy. Denying access to the vote means denying the very humanity and holiness of those who have been denied. ”

NCC officials said the situation is so urgent that “we call for the adoption of these laws in any way, including ending the filibuster that has historically been used to block the voting rights of African Americans.”

“This is the moment to act,” the statement said. “This is the moment when we must stand up and speak as people of faith and conscience, calling on the Senate to end the filibuster and pass these critical parts of the law on voting rights and ensure the right to vote.”

John C. Dorhauer, former President of the NCC Board of Directors and Secretary General and President of the National Ministry of the United Church of Christ, gave this additional interpretation: “I consider the adoption of the law on voting rights to be the most important thing before Congress. now. The very foundations of our democracy are being dismantled as red state legislators rewrite the voting laws, giving new powers to state officials to annul legitimate election results and restricting access to voters. The Senate must, in whatever way is necessary, complete the work of the House and establish federal protection of the right to vote, or be remembered throughout history as those whose failure to lead brought to an end the democracy we knew. ”

“I consider the passage of the law on voting rights to be the most important thing before Congress at this time.”

The same, Gina M. Stewart, President Lott Carey, an international mission organization, issued a scathing statement on January 17, a day marked as a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

“What we are witnessing today is not the democracy that Dr. King marched on, went to prison and fought for,” she said. “Over the past year, we have seen countless laws and laws drafted by state lawmakers that restrict access to the ballot box for millions of Americans. These adopted and proposed laws include restrictions on postal voting, restrictions on early voting, and broader powers to clean voter lists. The often cited reason for these laws and laws is voter fraud, but voter fraud is extremely rare. Unfortunately, these laws disproportionately undermine the ability of colored people to vote. ”

She added: “The right to vote is not a party issue; it is the basis of our entire democracy. The 15th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees us the right to vote regardless of race or religion. Until we have equal access to the ballot, we cannot move forward on any other issue. Making progress on climate change policy, eliminating student debt, protecting women’s rights, reforming the criminal justice system, etc., all begins with ensuring that every American can vote in a safe, convenient and equal way. ”

After the Senate did not pass the law, The Southwest Fellowship issued a brief statement expressing horror. Fellowship Southwest is a mission and advocacy group that unites Baptists and others across the Southwest states from California to Texas.

“Southwest Fellowship is deeply disappointed by the recent failure of the federal Senate voting law.”

“The Southwest Fellowship is deeply disappointed by the recent failure of federal voting rights in the U.S. Senate,” the statement said. “Freedom to vote and to ensure that all votes are counted is fundamental to our democracy. Moreover, we have a long and sad history of denying citizens equal voting rights due to racial discrimination. The struggle continues to this day, and federal legislation is needed to protect the right to vote. “

Willie D. Francois III, coordinator of social justice for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, said Jan. 18 that fighting for the right to vote is an attempt to defeat evil. He spoke at a press conference in Atlanta, which was broadcast live by the denomination.

“This convention is practiced by the Ministry of Erosion,” he said. “What does that mean? We are constantly appearing to carry evil. Denying the right to vote is evil. Protecting the Senate governments over protecting the public is evil.”

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