I pledge to help get out the vote!
Some states are already casting ballots. We are calling on you--people of faith and moral conscience--to pledge to register voters in your home state and help with efforts to get out the vote! You can check this website (https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/) to see the registration deadlines in your state. Volunteer efforts to phone bank, organize, and register voters are critical in the final few weeks before the general election. If we work together, we can change the course of history and save the soul of this nation from extremism. If allowed to persist it will continue to tear this nation apart. Thank you for being a part of this movement and for pledging to help get out the vote! -Groundswell Team
Demand Secretaries of State ensure fair and just statewide elections
To: Secretaries of State More than 222,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. We are faith leaders who face this election with the gravity of burial rites, sitting virtual shiva, and praying the Janazah for our people. Before this pandemic began, we were wary of the death toll. Nearly 700 people a day were dying of poverty before the pandemic. 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions teeter on the edge of losing health insurance now. 140 million Americans, and growing, are low-income or poor. In 2016, over 1 million voters were denied their right to vote because of systemic racist voter suppression laws. As of today, the Senate has failed to renew the Voting Rights Act for 2,680 days. We cannot face this election season without their voices and stories within us. We cannot silently bury another member of our church, mosque or synagogue. We know who we are voting for this election season—every one of the 222,000 forever silenced. Every one of the 1 million-plus disenfranchised from voting. Every one of the 133 million, of the 140 million. Every one of us. Among our spiritual ancestors are those who endured violence and intimidation at every turn in order to vote: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Sister Antona, the Rev. James Reeb, and Jimmie Lee Jackson. Protecting our democracy and the right to vote is our sacred duty. We call on you now drawing from our collective moral center to insist that you fulfill your duty to execute a fair and just election that protects our democracy. We implore you to count every vote and ensure that voters are free of intimidation and harassment. As faith leaders in communities, we know that people are scared. We implore you to ensure voter safety in your states. It is our collective sacred duty to ensure a just democracy. In his famous line which has echoed across generations, the English poet John Donne wrote that we should “never send to ask for whom the bell tolls / it tolls for Thee.” When he wrote those words, church bells in an English village were used to call the community together for funerals. This year, as more than 7 million Americans have contracted covid-19 and over 222,000 have died, we have used bells, pots and pans to mark the evening shift changes by honoring the frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day to care for the sick. They do not have to ask for whom the bells toll. They toll for everyone who has stepped up to do their part in the midst of this global crisis. On November 3rd, in each of the 50 states, faith leaders and their communities will ring the bells, cast votes and publicly pray for a just democracy. We petition you to fulfill your role in this Election Season by ensuring all votes are counted and the election is free of intimidation and harassment. In the abiding Spirit of Love and Justice, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II President, Repairers of the Breach Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis Executive Director, Kairos Center Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Rev. Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, D. Min. National Executive Director, Poor People’s Campaign Min. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove School for Conversion Rev. Abhi P. Janamanchi Senior Minister, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church Bethesda, Maryland Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson Minister, Palomar UU Fellowship Vista, California Rabbi Rick Jacobs President, Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Director, Religious Action Center Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
Catholic Women Religious Superiors Should Vote at The Synod
The XV Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment brings together bishops, auditors and experts from around the world to collaborate and discuss the urgent needs of the Church for three weeks in Rome (October 3 – 28, 2018). Voting on the final documents at these meetings was reserved for ordained men until 2015, when one religious brother (a non-ordained man) was given permission to vote. This year, that number has doubled. Two non-ordained male religious superiors have permission to vote on the documents that, if approved by Pope Francis, could become ordinary magisterial teaching. This is an encouraging opening. Representation from non-clerics adds diversity to one of the institution’s primary decision making bodies and helps the Church move closer to the essence of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio which aims to more directly involve the People of God. While we welcome voting for non-ordained male religious, it does not go far enough. If male religious superiors who are not ordained can vote, then women religious superiors who are also not ordained should vote. With no ontological/doctrinal barrier, the only barrier is the biological sex of the religious superior. In St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women (1995), he made clear the “urgent need to achieve real equality in every area…” He also stated, “This is a matter of justice but also of necessity. Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future…” We believe this is especially true of Synods. Women are part of the solution to the serious problems facing the Church. Thus we urge all of you bishops, cardinals and other ordained and non-ordained members who have the authority to vote in this Synod to make a path for women religious superiors to work and vote as equals alongside you as sisters and brothers in Christ. Leaders in serving the world’s most marginalized communities, women religious largely outnumber male religious and could bring underrepresented experiences of accompaniment, leadership, and pastoral care to the Synod. In 2016, there were 659,445 religious sisters worldwide and 52,625 religious brothers (CARA). As Pope Francis calls for “a more incisive female presence” in the Church while calling the Synod “a suitable instrument to give voice to the entire People of God…“ (EC 25), we urge you to bring women into meaningful decision-making in every body of the Church, including the Synod. Since the beginning of the Synod on youth, women from many backgrounds and countries have spoken up in support of voting rights of religious sisters at the Synod. We may have differing opinions on many of issues but one thing unites us: We believe that our Church can overcome the current crisis only if women have a voice and a vote. Partners in the Initiative: Catholic Women Speak CORPUS Donne per la Chiesa FutureChurch New Ways Ministry Quixote Center RAPPORT Voices of Faith We Are Church International Women's Ordination Conference Women's Ordination Worldwide