Diverse Faith Leaders Demand Protection of Democracy in America’s Voting Crisis

Diverse Faith Leaders Demand Protection of Democracy in America’s Voting Crisis

August 1, 2022
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Why this petition matters

Dear Mr. President –  

Thank you for efforts by your administration to protect the voting rights of People of Color and other vulnerable Americans in pushing for the passage of national voting rights legislation ---the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, despite the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass either measure. 

We are writing as diverse faith leaders strongly urging you to more boldly use your enormous power to raise the urgency of protecting the American democracy and the vote.  Action by you is especially important, given the escalating threats of organized, nationwide partisan voter challengers targeting voters of color and other vulnerable citizens. We are not just leaders of non-partisan, multi-faith, race, and generation organizations.  For us, voting is rooted in the belief that everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to vote in free, fair, and safe elections. 

The late Congressman John Lewis said it best, “A Vote is the Most Powerful Non-Violent Tool We Have - Almost Sacred.”  Mr. President, our vote in our democracy is imperiled, and everything is at stake!  On January 6, 2021, the attempted coup by White nationalists and militia at the U.S. Capitol threatened the certification of a legitimate election to keep the former president in power. That has changed the face of freedom in this nation. It has put the lives of those in America, particularly people of color, even more at risk as we heard shouts on January 6th, “let’s take back our country!”  And now, we believe history will repeat itself with an “Insurrection Part II” at polling places across the country during the general election.  Freedom to vote and the protection of Black, Asian Pacific, Latino, and other citizens of color against white terrorism all are at stake in the coming election.  

Mr. President, in your November 7th victory speech as President-elect, you said to Black Americans, “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”  “Having our backs” means using your Presidential power to galvanize national support for voting rights despite the failure of the U. S. Senate to pass federal voting rights legislation.   

A recent Politico special report, entitled ‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest Elections” revealed that there is an implemented plan to recruit and train 100,000 partisan poll workers, interrogators, and poll challengers throughout Michigan and key battleground states along with a “hotline” of attorneys to question the legitimacy of voters. We agree that voting is sacred, and politicizing poll workers reflects broader challenges the country has faced recently against the right to vote without restrictions and obstructions. 

Mr. President, we urgently need you to stand firm and use your presidential powers to tell voter obstructionists that we will not stand for the intolerance of voter fairness. People of faith must intervene when politics fails, and we are interfering and seeking your intervention amid dire threats to our democracy and vote. This, for us, is a faith matter and religious issue.    

We seek the following near-term actions by you and your Administration:  

  1. A Presidential prime-time address to the nation on the clear and present danger to our democracy of efforts to undermine the coming elections and erect obstacles to the precious freedom to vote. 
  2. A conference call by the President to Secretaries of State and state election officials encouraging every deliberate effort to ensure free, fair, and safe elections given threats of partisan poll interrogators and poll challengers in the coming election; and offering federal support where appropriate. 
  3. A series of White House meetings convened by the President with diverse faith and civil rights leaders and voting rights lawyers in September and October to discuss your Administration’s planned 2022 actions to protect the vote and the steps they can take to support your efforts.   

Mr. President, we want to know that our children and children’s children know that you and our nation stood strong in the face of evil attacks upon our democracy. Therefore, we respectfully request a prompt response consistent with the urgency of the hour our nation faces. 

God Bless You, and God Bless America.  


Yours in His Service,  

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network 

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Interim President, National Council of Churches of Christ 

Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chair, Conference of National Black Churches  

Rev. Jim Wallis, Chair and Director, Center for Faith & Justice, Georgetown University




Bishop Claude Alexander, Jr., Pastor, The Park Church (Charlotte, NC)

Rev. Dr. David Anderson, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community  Church (Columbia, MD)

Rev. Dr. Sherry R. Austin, Senior Pastor Connections, Metropolitan UMC

Ms. Jaladah Aslam, Ohio State Lead, Faiths United to Save Democracy (Youngstown, OH)

Bishop Carroll A Baltimore, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks (Alexandria, VA)

Rev. Dr. Kip Banks, East Washington Heights Baptist Church (Washington, DC)

Rev. Amantha Barbee, Senior Pastor, Oakhurst Presbyterian Church USA

Rev. Dr. David Beckmann, Dean's Advisor for Political and Economic Justice, Virginia Theological Seminary; Coordinator, Circle of Protection (Washington, DC)

Rev. Traci Blackmon, Vice-President, United Church of Christ (Florissant, MO)

Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr., President, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit & Vicinity; Michigan FUSD Co-Lead (Detroit, MI)

Bishop Ronnie Elijah Brailsford, Sr., President of Council of Bishops, African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning, Pastor, Ebenezer AME Church (Fort Washington, MD)

Dr. Jamal Bryant, Senior Pastor, New Birth (Stonecrest, GA)

Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield, Chair, AME Church Social Action Commission

Sister Gwendolyn Byrd, President, Macon GA Conference Women's Missionary Society

Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan, Senior Pastor, St. Paul's Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

Pastor Raymond Chang, President, Asian American Christian Collaborative (Chicago, IL)

Mr. Mark E. Christensen, Christensen Hsu Sipes, LLP (Chicago, IL)

Rev. Delman Coates, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church (Clinton, MD)

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, The Episcopal Church (Raleigh, NC)

Irene M Daniels, Supervisor, 17th District AME Church

Pablo DeJesus, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

Dr. Sabrina E. Dent, President, Center for Faith, Justice, and Reconciliation

Michele Dunne, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network

Dr. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director, AME Church - Social Action Commission (Los Angeles, CA)

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Board Chair, Interfaith Power & Light (Atlanta, GA)

Rev. Nathan Empsall, Executive Director, Faithful America

Pastor Joy Gallmon, Senior Pastor, St. Mark, AME Church (Milwaukee, WI)

Reverend Darryl Gray, Executive Director, Missouri Faith Voices, Inc. (St. Louis, MO)

Dr. Cynthia Hale L. Hale, Founding Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church (Decatur, GA)

Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr, Canon Missioner, Washington National Cathedral (Washington, DC)

Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins, Director of PC(USA) Advocacy Offices/PC(USA) (Washington, DC)

Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, Friendship-West Baptist Church (Dallas, TX)

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society 

Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., Senior Pastor, Cathedral International--the Historic Second Baptist Church (Perth Amboy, NJ)

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister, and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Karen Howard, Political Action Chair for GA Women's Missionary Society - WMS

Rev. Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment (Los Angelis, CA)

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Prelate, 6th District (GA) AME Church (Atlanta, GA)

Ms. Brenda Jakes

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Ecumenical Officer, The CME Church 

Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr., First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Maryland

Dr. Deborah Taylor King, President, African Methodist Women Missionary Society 

Pastor William H. Lamar IV, Metropolitan AME Church (Washington, DC)

Sr. Marie Lucey, Franciscan Action Network

Mrs. Terri Lodge Kelly, AME, SED WMS Life Member 

Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church (Indianapolis, IN)

Rev. Carlos L Malave, President, Latino Christian National Network (Louisville, KY)

Rev. Lee May, Pastor, Transforming Faith Church (Decatur, GA)

Ms. Kim McCray, Florida State Lead, FUSD (Miami, FL)

Rev. Timothy McDonald, Pastor, First Iconium Baptist Church (Atlanta, GA)

Bridget Moix, General Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation  (Washington, DC)

Sister Sylvia Moore, President, SED WMS

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago, IL)

Joan F. Neal, Deputy Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice (Washington, DC)

Lena L Nwakudu, WMS, Augusta Conference President

Sister Maria Orlandini, Franciscan Action Network

Rev. Dr. Zina Pierre, Senior Pastor, Bethel Restoration Church (Largo, MD)

Pastor James C. Perkins, Pastor, Greater Christ Baptist Church (Detroit, MI)

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (Washington, DC)

Bishop Harry L. Seawright, Bishop, AME 9th District (Birmingham, AL)

Imam Talib M. Shareef, President, Masjid Muhammad, The Nation's Mosque (Washington, DC)

Rev. Jerome Stephens, Associate Minister, New Shiloh Baptist Church (Baltimore, MD)

Rev. Dr. Gina M. Stewart, President, Lott. Carey Foreign Mission Convention and Senior Pastor-Christ Missionary Baptist Church (Memphis, TN)

Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., Senior Pastor, First Institutional Baptist Church (Phoenix, AZ)

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners (Washington, DC)

Dr. Deborah Taylor King, International President, WMS-AMEC

Ms. Jackie Dupont Walker, Director, AME Church Social Action Commission (Los Angeles, CA)

Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA)

Dr. Michael W. Waters, Lead Pastor, Abundant Life A.M.E. Church, Dallas, Texas

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Pastor, Alfred Street Baptist Church (Alexandria, VA)

Dr. Mark Whitlock, Pastor, Reid Temple AME Church (Glenn Dale, MD)

Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Pastor, Perfecting Church (Detroit, MI)



Cc: Madam Vice President Kamala Harris 

US Attorney General Merrick Garland 


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Signatures: 418Next Goal: 500
Support now