~ by Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter
At a time when some voters are waiting more than 10 hours to cast their ballots, more than 1,000 faith leaders have signed an open letter calling for a “fair and free election.”
“America is only as strong as its people’s commitment to our democracy and the freedoms and rights it ensures,” states the letter, which was released on October 27 by a range of clergy leaders, religious activists and scholars, including Catholics.
The letter enumerates four areas of concern: ensuring free and fair elections for all Americans; the counting of every valid vote before the election is decided; a commitment of leaders to share relevant information to avoid spreading misinformation; and a peaceful transition of power.
More than 100 Catholics signed the letter including Missionaries of Jesus Sr. Norma Pimentel, Social Justice Sr. Simone Campbell and Jesuit Fr. James Martin.
Stephen Schneck, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, believes that leadership from the faith community ahead of the election makes perfect sense as “there’s a special onus on Christians to engage in political life with an effort an maintaining peace and order.”
For that reason, over the last year, a diverse coalition consisting of religious sisters, African American clergy, legal scholars and practitioners, community activists and a network or field workers have united with a shared purpose: protecting the right to vote for all – and the ensuing results. Their tactics are both spiritual and practical.
One of the biggest champions for faith leaders leading to protect the vote and ensure nonviolence at both the polls and after the election has been Chris Crawford, who has led faith outreach for the
National Task Force on Election Crises a cross- partisan group of experts on election security and promoting free and fair elections.
“When you involve faith communities in an effort, they just have more reach than really any other piece of our civil society,” he told the National Catholic Reporter, adding that, “you can’t do anything really effectively in our public life without engaging our faith communities.”
“All of our freedoms, including our religious freedom, depend on free and fair elections,” Crawford said. “Every individual person matters, and in that sense, in the United States, you have a right to vote. You have a voice.” To read the complete article click here