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Faith Community VRAA Support Letter

Faith Community VRAA Support Letter

May 28, 2014

 

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 & 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)