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WASHINGTON (RNS) A coalition of religious leaders from a variety of faiths on Wednesday (Feb. 3) blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows large corporations unlimited financial support of candidates during elections.
The group of more than 200 leaders, many affiliated with the National Council of Churches, also pledged to support legislation to limit the ruling’s impact by empowering voters, not special interest groups.
The letter was organized by Common Cause, a public-interest advocacy group whose president is Bob Edgar, a United Methodist minister and former general secretary of the NCC.
“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 leaders wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“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 disenfranchised.”
The faith leaders, including current NCC head Michael Kinnamon, urged Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act, a campaign-spending reform law that’s backed by congressional Democrats and a host of left-leaning advocacy groups.
“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 stated.
Other signers include Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of America; Rabbi Michael Lerner, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives; the Rev. James Forbes, former senior pastor of Riverside Church in New York; and the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus.
— Kimberlee Hauss

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