Every Voice, Every Vote
The Elections are coming and never before has more been at stake. Never before has such anxiety and uncertainty swirled around our national elections. Never before have we needed each other to be in solidarity together to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote counted. I have been meeting weekly over the last few weeks with my interfaith colleagues as we have gathered over zoom to discuss the important role our faith communities can play during these turbulent and unpredictable times. We are committed to the principles articulated below to create a safe and nurturing place for our people to gather as we approach this time-honored opportunity to participate in the democratic process of voting in free and fair elections. This is a sacred and cherished obligation, which we should never take for granted. Things are certainly different this year, but our participation in our national duty could not be more important than at this time. If you have any questions about how to vote safely you can visit this website https://www.yoloelections.org/ You can also go to the Religious Action Center’s website to learn how you can become involved https://rac.org/take-action/congregations-communities/rac-civic-engagement-campaign-2020.
We will be holding a special CBH Shabbat service on Friday, October 30th at 6 pm to offer a safe gathering space to provide virtual hugs of support and hope. The service will be followed by a virtual “oneg” for anyone who would like to gather and be together to share how they are feeling. Then, on Wednesday, November 4th, following the election, from 5:30-6:30 pm, the Davis Area Interfaith Leaders Network will be organizing a community-wide vigil in Central Park. Save the dates and watch for more details.
I am proud to share with you, below, the letter written by members of our interfaith group, which will appear in the Davis Enterprise. I believe that this letter expresses our fervent hopes for our community and our nation at this critical moment in our history. With blessings and hope, Rabbi Greg
Toward a “More Perfect Union”
A Statement on the 2020 Election from the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network
1.0 Religious communities promote and protect our democracy
The religious traditions we represent are born of visions and values for human life that inspire our strong advocacy of American democracy. Over the centuries our people have offered creative insights and energies to help our nation move toward “a more perfect union.” We believe that a thriving democracy is essential to ensure that all persons are not only “created equal,” but are treated equally and welcomed to contribute to the creation of a society where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are “unalienable rights” for everyone, without exception.
2.0 Our democracy faces many challenges
This fall, many Americans feel anxious about the future of our democracy. Our long tradition of absentee and mail-in voting has been maligned. Foreign powers are maliciously influencing the election. Voters are challenged and often intimidated at the voting booth. And we face the likelihood of an unprecedented delay in receiving the final election results. We are at a critical moment in American history. We feel many things: concern, confusion, helplessness, anger, and reactivity.
3.0 We summon our communities to involvement
As leaders and representatives of Davis-area religious communities we affirm our nation’s commitment to the separation of church and state. But we will not relinquish our role as independent and non-partisan voices, calling our nation to rise toward higher moral and political ground than we’ve known recently. Further, we draw now upon our spiritual visions and values as we summon our faith communities to full involvement in our democratic process.
4.0 What you can do now
We urge our communities to vote, pray for our nation, build bridges between us, remain calm in the face of conflict, practice non-violence, work for the common good, and demand that our political leaders, through whatever means are necessary, support and protect a fair and free election process, and ensure every vote is counted. These commitments are not partisan; they are deeply patriotic. They are integral to our common religious values of equality, justice, and the promotion of the sacred dignity of every human person.
5.0 Our network supports solidarity near and far
As we look toward and beyond November 3, 2020, we, as a religious coalition, are strengthening our network. No one knows what lies before us politically. And so, our network is working now to foster the kind of local solidarity, stability, and plans for action that will help us all contribute constructively to the democratic future of our city, state, and nation.
6.0 Fear is real but need not render us passive
We acknowledge that there are things to be afraid of. Anxieties are not unwarranted. A shift toward an authoritarian state, the meddling of foreign powers, the infringement of voter’s rights, are all of grave concern. In addition, it’s essential that each of us acknowledge the emotional and physical effects of the compounding crises we’re experiencing. Hold to your faith. Draw upon all that is good in you and in others. Care for yourself and your neighbor. Remain vigilant in doing good.
7.0 Let us rise and carry each other toward a “more perfect union”
We Americans are still shaping the democratic vision born on our soil in the latter part of the eighteenth century. It isn’t perfect. It’s still growing. It faces serious challenges today. But we believe our nation’s best days are before us. And we believe that we are all called by our common humanity to help guide our nation toward a “more perfect union”—yet unrealized—a union that requires each of us to help carry it one more step toward what it can still be.
Be strong. Be kind. Stay together. We can do hard things.
Brandon Austin, Pastor, Davis United Methodist
Beth Banks, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church
Seth Castleman, Rabbi, Mindful Moment Meditation
Pamela Dolan, Rector, Episcopal Church of St. Martin
The Rev. Casey Kloehn Dunsworth, Pastor, The Belfry Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry
Erin Edwards, Pastor, Live On Purpose Community Church
Hamza El-Nakhal, Coordinator for Muslim DEIN
Eunbee Ham, Pastor, Davis Community Church
Anne Kjemtrup, Coordinator for Muslim DEIN
Chris Neufeld Erdman, Pastor, Davis Community Church
Daniel Smith, Lutheran, Pastor, Church of the Incarnation
Sara Tillema, Director and Campus Minister, Cal Aggie Christian Association
Greg Wolfe, Rabbi, Congregation Bet Haverim