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Reform Movement Joins Faith Letter in Support of Voting Rights Amendment Act

Contact: Sean Thibault or Charlie Arnowitz
news@rac.org | (202) 387-2800


May 28, 2014, Washington, D.C. - Rabbi Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, joined leaders of diverse faith organizations to send the following letter to Congress in support of the Voting Rights Amendment Act:

Dear Members of Congress:

As organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of diverse people of faith across the United States, we write to share our strong support for the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S.1945) and urge its swift passage by both chambers of Congress.

Many people of faith proudly fought for the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which took historic steps to prohibit the discriminatory voting practices that denied and abridged the rights of so many in our communities. The Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which stripped critical protections for voters in striking down a key provision of the VRA, reminds us that our work is far from complete.

The teachings of our respective faiths may diverge on issues of theology and practice, but all speak clearly of the imperative to pursue justice and treat each and every human being with dignity and respect. We are united in standing up for those most at risk of having their voices silenced at the ballot box. We are inspired to do what we can to protect the right of each individual to play a role in shaping the future of our cities, towns, states and nation. What is at stake in this fight is the very nature of our society, whether we can truly call ourselves a democracy in which each citizen can cast a vote to choose our leaders and shape the direction of our country.

Chief Justice Roberts called upon Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Every day that passes without Congressional action brings new voting procedures unreported at best and outright discriminatory at worst. This bill is not perfect. We remain concerned that voter ID laws are treated differently from other potentially discriminatory policies and that a “known practices” formula, which would provide recourse against some of the most common discriminatory practices, is not included. Yet, we are united in the belief that now is the time to build on the critical tools in this legislation and stop discriminatory voting practices wherever they occur.

Voting rights legislation has long been—and continues to be—a shining example of bipartisan unity. We urge you to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S.1945) and see that its modern, commonsense provisions are swiftly enacted. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely
Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Community of Greater Washington Ameinu
American Baptist Churches U.S.A.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish Committee
Amir
Anti-Defamation League
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
B’nai B’rith International
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, Reading, PA
Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Mary (CT, ME, NH, NY, VT)
Community of Christ
Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC)
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY
Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)
Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Disciples Justice Action Network
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith in Public Life
Franciscan Action Network
Franciscan Friars, TOR, Province of the Immaculate Conception Franciscans for Justice
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Faith and Justice Project, Santa Fe, NM
Global Justice Institute
Hindu American Foundation
International Council of Community Churches
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA)
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Jewish Women International
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Jews United for Justice
Keshet
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Leadership Team of the Felician Sisters of North America
Leadership Team, Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, OH
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Metropolitan Community Churches
More Light Presbyterians
National Council of Churches, U.S.A.
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women, Austin Section
National Council of Jewish Women, Maine Section
National Council of Jewish Women, Peninsula Section
National Council of Jewish Women, Seattle Section
National Council of Jewish Women, Texas State Policy Advocacy Network
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Pax Christi USA
PICO National Network
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, Detroit, MI
Rabbinical Assembly
Reconciliation Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Reconciling Ministries Network
ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Religious Institute
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE)
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, PA Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, OH Sojourners
Surat Initiative
The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
The Solomon Project
The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society
UNITED SIKHS
Uri L’tzedek
Valley Interfaith Council
Wheaton Franciscans, Wheaton, IL
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)



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