With the election looming and anxiety high, the United Church of Christ has given voice to concerns that our democracy may in genuine peril this fall.
The authoritarian tone of Mr. Trump, a concerted effort to delegitimize the results of balloting, and a lack of assurance that there will be a peaceful transfer of power all combine to raise alarms not only within religious circles but in our country at large.
Consequently, a broad swath of ecumenical leaders in the U.S., including UCC President and General Minister Rev. John Dorhaurer, have all signed the following statement which can also be viewed on our national website. With encouragement from our national office, I have signed this statement as well.
Defending the Democratic Process:
A Faith Community Call to Awareness and Action
The freedom of religion that all Americans cherish is but one treasure passed down to us over the course of the American experiment in self-governance. Democracy itself is another – and a foundation of our other treasured liberties. The fact that we have learned to take it for granted makes it no less precious today.
One of the cornerstones of democracy is the assurance of a free, fair, and respected election. Free, meaning all eligible voters are able to vote safely and without hindrance; fair, meaning all the votes are counted transparently; respected, meaning the results of the election are accepted. Today we are coming to understand that our democratic inheritance is only secure when all of us are willing to defend these basic principles.
Accordingly, we ask faith leaders at every level to make themselves and their communities and congregations aware that democracy itself could disappear if the people’s will, as clearly expressed through the ballot, should come to be set aside by authoritarian means and antidemocratic directives. We call on people of faith to insist that the vote of the people and the proper functioning of the Electoral College be respected by all parties to the national election. As peacemakers ourselves, we call on other faith-grounded peacemakers to join us in upholding the principle of the peaceful transfer of power. And we urge all who cling to the concept of Beloved Community to prepare themselves to respond to any attempts to undermine this process, including supporting and even joining those who may find it necessary to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience in the event of any unjust usurpation of state authority.
We continue to pray for and expect a peaceful and orderly electoral outcome. But we must not and we cannot be passive witnesses to the death of democracy, should the worst occur. We hold our American democracy to be a sacred trust, and we pledge ourselves to safeguard it with every ounce of our God-given strength and spirit.