Hundreds of religious leaders demanding that Biden and other Democrats do more to do
The letter, which was originally addressed only to Biden and the Senate Democrats, but was later expanded to become an appeal to the entire chamber, comes as civil rights leaders and members of the Congressional The Black Caucus are increasing pressure on the Biden administration to pass voting rights legislation. after Republicans blocked two Democrat-led measures.
Congressional Black Caucus chair Joyce Beatty, a Democrat from Ohio, returned to Washington on Wednesday to hold an emergency meeting with the rest of the caucus, a source close to the planning of the meeting told CNN.
Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, organized the letter with several faith-based organizations. The African American Christian Clergy Coalition, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Faith in Public Life are among the organizers.
The religious leaders who signed the letter are from Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions, including Reverend Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr. of the Washington National Cathedral, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Rabbi Charles Kroloff , former president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
“This relic must disappear”
“We believe that the filibuster should be abolished,” King told CNN, adding that it had been used to block key measures such as the anti–lynching legislation and civil rights legislation. “This relic has to go. It’s really unfortunate that we have to have this discussion this time.… It should have been done already.”
Sinema, who says she supports both bills, also supports the rule “to protect the country from repeated sweeping reversals in federal policy that would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government. “said spokesperson John LaBombard. A declaration.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York spoke about passing a voting rights bill next year in a private conference call with other Democrats on Tuesday night and said that “the foundation of our democracy – free and fair elections – is at stake,” a Democratic source told CNN.
“We need – for the sake of our democracy – to ensure that the Senate can debate and come to a final conclusion on voting rights legislation this Congress. And soon,” Schumer said, according to the source.
“We will continue the fight until we have finished it, and you will continue the fight, and we badly need your help,” he said during the graduation ceremony at the historically black university.
A deeper message than voting rights
As Biden and other Democrats pledge to continue fighting for the right to vote, religious leaders say lawmakers need to do more than just make promises. The Kings believe the President and Congress must do their utmost to ensure that there is a victory over the voting rights legislation.
“We have seen what happens when the White House and Congress put all of their power and effort into something that they support. We have seen it with the infrastructure bill,” said Arndrea Waters King to CNN, adding that this is why they and other activists will do it. cross symbolic bridges on MLK Day weekend. “We are physically crossing these bridges to say that you have stood up for the bridges, now is the time to stand up for the people.”
Dr Stephany Spaulding, pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said the letter sent another message besides protecting voting rights.
“Deeper than that is the reality that we can no longer continue to harness the life and pain of our communities,” Spaulding told CNN. “Every two to four years we see politicians come into sacred space, into our congregations, make promises to our members and say how life in this kingdom will improve for our congregations and our members. And then we find ourselves in times like this, where we are on the verge of a huge failure. ”
She continued, “As sacred as our confidence in them as politicians is, it is also sacred for them to stand up for the righteousness they speak of.”
This story has been updated to reflect the publication of the letter and its distribution to the entire United States Senate.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi, Sam Fossum, Eva McKend, Lauren Fox and Manu Raju contributed to this report.