Clergy Oppose MI Voter Registration and ID Law

LANSING – Calling voting, “a fundamental responsibility and a moral obligation,” over 110 religious leaders, representing 46 cities across the State of Michigan, have signed on to a letter asking Governor Snyder and elected leaders to oppose SB 754, legislation that would mandate photo IDs for registered voters, and require training and new regulations for who groups who register voters. If passed, the legislation would take effect immediately.

“To put these laws into effect seven weeks before the next election, will cause unnecessary confusion and discourage thousands of eligible voters, especially the poor and elderly, from participating in the 2012 elections,” said Rev. Ira Edwards, Pastor of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church in Flint and President of Flint Area Congregations Together.

Calling voter registration drives, “consistent with the best of our democratic values and our moral heritage,” the clergy signers represent 14 different religious denominations and span a wide geographic area of the state. In the letter (see below), faith leaders call on the Governor and legislature to resist supporting any laws or practices which create barriers for eligible voters to practice faithful citizenship, urging elected leaders to instead encourage citizens across the State of Michigan to more actively participate in the political life of their communities and their country.

“In a time when budgets are shrinking in local communities across the state, to require City and County clerks to provide new voter registration training, without any new funding is unnecessary, and a costly waste of dwindling resources.” said Rev. Vern Hoffman, a Christian Reform Minister from Grand Rapids.

The letter is sponsored by Michigan Prophetic Voices, a new multi-denominational statewide organization representing a diverse group of clergy and congregations. Michigan Prophetic Voices was formed earlier this year to strengthen the prophetic voice of faith leaders from different regions and denominations across the stateand to advocate for issues that focus on the well-being of youth, struggling homeowners, safe communities and poor families in Michigan.

A copy of the letter is available below –

Raising our Prophetic Voice in Opposition to SB 754

June 13, 2012

Dear Governor Snyder:

As religious leaders across the State of Michigan, we believe that voting is not only a fundamental responsibility of our democracy but a moral obligation. Senate Bill (SB) 754, currently being debated in Lansing, would make it more difficult for an eligible person in Michigan to vote and we urge you to oppose it.

We believe SB 754 will discourage thousands of eligible voters across the state from participating in the 2012 elections, especially minorities, the poor and the elderly, by mandating photo IDs and requiring training, and other regulations for people who register voters. In a time when budgets are shrinking in local communities across the state, to require City and County clerks to provide this training, without any new funding, is unnecessary, and a costly waste of dwindling resources.

As you know, voter registration efforts take place at churches, temples, and mosques across the state. These civic engagement efforts are consistent with the best of our democratic values and our moral heritage. The provisions in SB 754 however, would limit this access. Again, we strongly urge you to VOTE NO and to resist supporting any laws or practices which create barriers for eligible voters to practice faithful citizenship.

As members of Michigan Prophetic Voices, a multi-denominational faith based organization representing clergy and congregations across the state, we hope that out of respect for all God’s children, you will oppose Senate Bill 754 and look at more constructive ways to encourage citizens across the State of Michigan to more actively participate in the political life of their communities and their country. Thank you.

Sincerely:
Rev. Minnie Autry Pastor, Community AME Church, Jackson, MI
Rev. Kertius Barlow Jr., Pastor, Deliverance Church of Today International, Detroit, MI
Pastor Becky Bolander, American Lutheran Church, Clinton Township, MI
Rev. Kenneth Boykins, Pastor, The New DIME MBC, Flint, MI
Rev. Loranell R. Breyley, Cana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Berkley, MI
Rev. David A. Buersmeyer, Pastor, Ss. John and Paul Catholic Church, Washington, MI
Rev. John Burrow, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Clawson, MI
Bishop Hurley J. Coleman, World Outreach, Greater Coleman Temple COGIC, Saginaw, MI
Rev. Fr. Brian Coleman, Rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Battle Creek, MI
Rev. Dr. Robert E. Dahl, Michigan Conference United Church of Christ, Holland, MI
Pastor Ira G. Edwards Sr., Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Dr. Fairfax F. Fair, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, MI
Dr. Reginald Flynn, Pastor, Foss Avenue Baptist Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Steven Gaddy, Greater Metropolitan Cathedral, Saginaw, MI
Rev. Joseph A. Gagnon, Senior Priest, Archdiocese of Detroit, Marysville, MI
Rev. David A. Galbraith, Pastor, Peace Presbyterian Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Peggy Garrigues, Clawson United Methodist, Clawson, MI
Elder Jerry Givens, Prayer of Garden Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Patricia A. Havis Pastor, St. James Christian Methodist Church (CME), Flint, MI
Rev. Deacon Claudia Hollinger, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Flint MI
Rev. Vernon Hoffman, Micah Center, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Gregory J. Hyde, Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Rev. David R. Jarrett Sr., Bethel AME Church, Detroit, MI
Pastor David A. Johnson II, Kingdom Covenant Church (KACF), Detroit MI
Supt. Harold W. Jones, Sr., Pastor, Ephesians Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Dr. Deborah Kohler, Associate Conference Minister, MI Conference UCC, Kalamazoo, MI
Pastor Tim Larson, Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church, Southfield, MI
Rev. Jim Lynch Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, Ferndale, MI
Rev. Leslie Mathews, Minister, Triumphant Life Christian Church, Highland Park, MI
Rev. Darryl Mathis, Kingdom Dominion Ministries, Redford, MI
Rev. Mark Milkamp, Open Hearts Community Church, Wyoming MI
Rev. Ruth Moerdyk, Disciples of Christ Church, Kalamazoo, MI
Rev. Byron C. Moore, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer AME Church, Detroit, MI
Dr. Jerry L. Myles, Saginaw, MI
Rev. Colleen R. Nelson, Trinity Lutheran Church, Battle Creek, MI
Rev. Emma Nickel Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Warren, MI
Rev. Dr. Claudene F. Oliva, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint, Flint, MI
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey S. O’Neill Retired Member, Presbytery of Lake Michigan Grand Ledge, MI
Rev. Louise R. Ott, Congregational Church of Birmingham UCC, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Rev. Talitha Pennington, Pastor, Community of Christ Church, Troy, MI
Rev. Wendy S. Pratt, Delta Presbyterian Church, Lansing, MI
Pastor Richard Richardson, New Westside Central Missionary Baptist, Detroit, MI
Rev. Kimi Riegel, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Southfield, MI
Dr. Ken Roivas, Central Baptist Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Thomas A. Scherger, Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Royal Oak, MI
Rev. Stanley U. Sims, Quinn Chapel Africa Methodist Episcopal Church, Flint, MI
Pastor Antonio C. Sims, True Worship Church, Sterling Heights, MI
Rev. Charlotte Sommers, Pastor, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Troy, MI
Rev. Lauren Thomas, Unitarian Universalist of Greater Lansing, East Lansing, MI
Fr. Norman P. Thomas, Pastor, Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth Catholic Churches, Detroit, MI
Pastor Monique Turner, Faith United Methodist Church, Flint, MI
Rev. Weatherly Burkhead Verhelst, Utica United Methodist Church, Sterling Heights, MI
Rev. Helen R. Williams, Pastor, Jarena Lee AME Church, Saginaw, MI
Bishop James A. Williams II, Senior Pastor , Spirit & Truth Christian Ministries, Detroit, MI
Rev. Gary Wright SJ, Society of Jesus, Detroit, MI
Pastor Edwin Padre Yates, Metropolitan Community Church of Flint, Flint, MI
Rev. Dr. Jeffery L. Baker, Pastor, St. Paul A.M.E. Church-Southwest, Detroit, MI
Rev. Kathryn A. Bert, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, East Lansing, MI
Rev. Michael Bruinooge, Grace Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Cheryl Burke, Acting Conference Minister, Michigan Conference UCC, East Lansing, MI
Rev. Dr. Robert Case, United Church of Christ, Alpena, MI
Rev. J. Michael Curenton, Senior Pastor, Mayflower Congregational UCC, Detroit, MI
Rev. Andy DeBraber, Director, Heartside Ministry, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Jack Eggleston, Southeast Michigan Synod ELCA, Detroit, MI
Rev. Michael Fedewa, Pastor, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Henry Fuller, Pastor, Mt. Calvary, Flint, MI
Rev. Terrence Gallagher, Pastor, First Congregational UCC, Gibralter, MI
Pastor Justin A. Grimm, Advent Lutheran Church, Lake Ann, MI
Rev. Miryam Hammond, St. Paul’s UCC, Bainbridge Twp., MI
Rev. Cathy Harrington, People’s Church Unitarian Universalist, Ludington, MI
Rev. Al Heystek, Clergy, East Congregational Church, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Minister, United Church of Christ, Grand Ledge, MI
Rev. Richard Hronek, United Church of Wayland, Wayland, MI
Rev. Rob Hunter, First Congregational UCC, St. Clair, MI
Dr. Melvin Jones, Sr., Union Missionary Baptist Church, Lansing, MI
Rev. Dr. Deborah Kohler, Associate Conference Minister, MI Conference UCC, Kalamazoo, MI
Rev. Jack Kooreman, Grace Church, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Nana Kratochvil, Consulting Minister, UU Fellowship Church of Muskegon, MI
Pastor Damien J. Lake, Pastor, St. John UCC, New Buffalo, MI
Rev. Reginald V. Lancaster, Minister, United Church of Christ, Flint, MI
Rev. Steven Lashbrook, Pasto, First Congregational UCC, Manistee, MI
Rev. Susan Lidums, Our Risen Lord ELCA Lutheran Church, Burton, MI
Rev. Linda Looney, Retired Plymouth UCC, Grandville, MI
Rev. Penny Lowe, St. Paul UCC, Warren, MI
Rev. Bill Lyons, Pastor, St. Johns UCC, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Jose Malayang, Retired UCC Minister, Church of the Good Shepherd, Ann Arbor, MI
Rev. Alan Martling, Retired UCC Minister, East Lansing, MI
Rev. Paul Mayhue, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Ruth Moerdyk, Disciples of Christ Church, Kalamazoo, MI
Rev. Dr. J. David Muyskens, Retired, Reform Church in America, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Shelly Page, Minister, Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church, Grosse Pointe, MI
Rev. Teri Powell-Bracy, St. Paul United Church of Christ, Warren, MI
Rev. Beth Rakestraw, Divine Peace MCC, Pontiac, MI
Rev. Lewis Randolph, Pastor, Antioch MBC, Flint, MI
Rev. C. Jack Richards, Retired Clergy, East Congregational Church UCC, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Richard Rowlands, United Church of Christ, Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. Mary Beth Sarhatt, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, MI
Rev. Sherri M. Schacht, Pastor and Teacher, First Congregational UCC, Romeo, MI
Rev. Chris Schwab, First Congregational UCC, Lowell, MI
Dr. Robert L. Stevenson, Jr. City Hope Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Tracey Taylor-Kunst, Minister, Second Congregational UCC, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Fred L. Thelen, Pastor, Cristo Rey Catholic Church, Lansing, MI
Rev. Howard Tobek, United Church of Christ, Portage, MI
Rev. Ron D. Van Lente, Pastor, Coloma United Methodist Church, Coloma, MI
Rev. Judy Whitwer, Retired Pastor, United Church of Christ, Grand Rapids, MI
Rev. Beverly Zell, Clergy Reformed Church in America, Holland, MI
Rabbi Michael Zimmerman, Congregation Kehillat Israel, Lansing, MI
Dr. Robert L. Stevenson, Jr., City Hope Ministries, Grand Rapids MI

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