Faith Groups Support Voting Rights
Yesterday, 86 faith organizations sent a letter to members of Congress calling for the swift passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. The letter was signed by a wide range of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and other organizations and denominations, collectively representing tens of millions of Americans.
Working in interfaith coalitions is an effective way to lift up our shared moral voice. While interfaith groups often do not agree on every issue, on issues where they do agree an interfaith voice can make a powerful contribution to the dialogue on any issue. In the case of key civil rights issues like voting rights, the moral case is clear: ensuring that all citizens can exercise the right to vote free from discrimination is neither ideological nor unique to any one faith. In civil rights battles of the past, the faith community has played a key role in moving the ball. Today should be no different.
All of these groups see the passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act as urgent, and we agree. In many states, primary elections are already under way, and the November elections are just around the corner. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder last year, this year’s elections are the first since the passage of the original Voting Rights Act in 1965 in which many voters are unprotected from discrimination at the ballot box.
On Capitol Hill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has yet to even call the bill for a hearing. But outside the halls of Congress, diverse people of faith, civil rights advocates, and voters around the country are deeply concerned about ensuring that all Americans can freely exercise the right to vote. The Voting Rights Amendment Act is a moderate, bipartisan, modern bill that would protect this right—and it is essential that it receive of a hearing.
The Jewish community has long been a crucial part of faith coalitions seeking to use a moral voice to advance the cause of civil rights. Ensuring equal voting rights for all comports with our Jewish tradition that the selection of leaders is not a privilege but a collective responsibility. Believing that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, we must ensure that all Americans are free of discrimination as they exercise their right to vote.
Urge your Members of Congress to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (S. 1945/ H.R. 3899) today!