For Immediate Release
Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 487-0518
Adam Smith (202) 997-8929
Religious Leaders to Pelosi: Pass Fair Elections in Wake of Citizen United Ruling
WASHINGTON - More than 200 faith leaders representing a diversity of religions
have signed onto a letter to Congress expressing concern over the
Supreme Court's decision to reverse decades of campaign finance law to
allow unlimited corporate spending on elections. The faith leaders are
also pledging to work with their congregations to encourage passage of
legislation that put voters - not special interests - in charge of our
democracy. Common Cause and Public Campaign released the letter
"We believe existing campaign finance laws already permit the unfair
influence of persons and groups with extraordinary wealth over the
political process by providing them with special access to elected
officials," the religious leaders wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-CA). "This special access ultimately results in legislative outcomes
that reflect the needs of those with the financial means to make
political contributions, and not the needs of the poor or
"We believe Congress must address both the Citizens United
decision and the problems of the current campaign finance system by
passing the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826). This measure
would empower average people to participate in politics with small
donations, and would return the gaze of our elected officials solely to
the needs of their districts and the nation as a whole, rather than the
interests of those with significant financial resources for campaigns,"
the letter continued.
Common Cause President Bob Edgar, a United Methodist minister and
former head of the National Council of Churches, organized the faith
leaders to sign the letter. "Religious leaders were shocked to see the
Supreme Court make a ruling that goes so far to further diminish the
voices of society's most needy," Edgar said. "But there is something
Congress must do: pass the Fair Elections Now Act to create a campaign
finance system that makes elected official beholden to all people - not
just the wealthy special interests."
Signers include the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA; Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Apostolic Church; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of America and Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogoe of San Francisco and chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives; Rev. Dr. James Forbes, former senior pastor, Riverside Church, New York, NY, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.