A group of more than 800 faith leaders came together to demand President Biden and Senate Democrats pass legislation to protect voting rights.
On Thursday, a letter was released urging that the voting rights issue become a “number-one priority” for 2022, CNN reports. Initially, the letter was only addressed to Biden and Senate Democrats but was updated to address the entire chamber.
“We cannot be clearer: you must act now to protect every American’s freedom to vote without interference and with confidence that their ballot will be counted and honored,” the letter stated.
“Passing comprehensive voting rights legislation must be the number-one priority of the administration and Congress.”
The letter comes after the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders started urging Biden to pass legislation after Republicans blocked two previous Democratic-led measures. It also comes after the family of Martin Luther King Jr. asked for “no celebration of MLK day in 2022 until voting rights legislation is passed.
Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, were behind organizing the letter along with faith-based organizations, including The African American Christian Clergy Coalition, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, and Faith in Public Life, among many others.
Others who signed the letter include faith leaders from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities, including Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr. of the Washington National Cathedral and Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg of National Council of Jewish Women, The Guardian reports.
“The communities we represent will continue to sound the alarm until these bills are passed. While we come from different faiths, we are united by our commitment to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable among us,” the letter said.
The push from faith leaders comes after Republicans filibustered voting rights legislation four times this year. The most recent occurred on Nov. 3 when Senate Republicans blocked the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Acts.
“It’s time to stop lamenting the state of our democracy and take action to address it,” the letter said.