Religious Leaders Jam Senator’s Office On MN Voter Photo ID

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Pastor Grant Stevens

Click photo to watch Pastor Grant Stevens and others take petitions to Minnesota Senate Majority Leader's office.

Click photo to watch Pastor Grant Stevens and others take petitions to Minnesota Senate Majority Leader's office.

Video by Nick Coleman
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem’s office doesn’t get many visits like this says his assistant Beth Kleinboehl. It’s not often that a half dozen religious leaders come calling with a cadre of television cameras in tow.

The cameras were there to watch the religious leaders present Senjem’s office with letters and petitions calling to keep the “voter photo ID” issue off the general election ballot.

The leaders, who come from many faiths, said the Republican backed proposed constitutional amendment would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, many who are too poor or too disabled to get a proper government ID. Earlier they had preached to the press about the dangers of the amendment which one religious leader called “a devilish enterprise”.

Senator Senjem was not at his office today, but will be back Wednesday when the legislative session resumes. His assistant said the Senator will respond.

Read the letter and petition that was delivered to Senator Senjem’s office

Dear Legislative Leaders:

We, as people of faith in the state of Minnesota, urge you not to put a voter ID amendment on the ballot. People of faith believe that all human life is sacred. In virtually all faith traditions, God creates humans with dignity and value. God intends people to participate in the human community, and to be able to do so with inherent respect. We believe that democracy is most complete—and therefore most powerful—when it embraces people on the margins of society. We believe that democracy at its best engages participation from the most diverse and gifted gathering of God’s whole people.

In face of these values, the proposed voter ID referendum in Minnesota seeks to reduce the number of people who participate in our democracy. Passage of the proposed referendum would primarily reduce voters of color, the elderly, students, poor and non-English-speaking voters. Effectively this gives more influence to a smaller number of wealthy, privileged and primarily White voters. Furthermore, passage of the referendum would effectively eliminate voting as a right, making it a privilege instead. People of faith recognize the proposed referendum as an attack on democracy, reducing participation rather than expanding it. It would also increase government expense and power, requiring an expanded system to evaluate and process voter IDs.

A deeply troubling implication recognized by people of faith is that the proposed referendum would reduce the number of people of color who could vote. One of the primary objectives of the civil rights campaign in the US was voter registration. In its attack on citizens’ right to vote, the proposed referendum seeks to increase “white power,” and would dangerously isolate White America from an increasingly diverse and gifted world. People of faith see the proposed referendum as profoundly cynical and backward.

Additionally, the proposed referendum would reduce the number of poor people who could vote, for it will be people of limited economic resource, limited time and limited mobility who will have most difficulty obtaining voter identification cards. By reducing the number of poor who vote, the proposed referendum seeks to increase the political power and influence of the wealthiest and most privileged classes of our society.

It is for these reasons that we urge our legislative leaders to not put the Voter ID amendment on the 2012 ballot and ensure that Minnesota continues a proud legacy of high voter turnout and participation in our democracy.

Barbara Thomalla, OSM
Servants of Mary, Vadnais Heights
Anne Attean, Pastoral Associate
Ascension Church, Minneapolis
Bishop Fred Washington
Minnesota Jurisdictional Prelate COGIC
Policy Board Member: His Works United, Minneapolis
Cindy Boggs, Pastoral Associate
Church of the Ascension, Minneapolis
Deacon David Lindmeier
Church of St. Peter, St. Cloud
Elder Alfred Babington-Johnson
CEO Stairstep Foundation, Policy Board Member,
His Works United, Minneapolis
Fr. Don Piche
St. Joseph the Worker, Maple Grove
Br. John Kerr
St. Bridget Church, Minneapolis
Pr. Linda McPeak
St. Johns Lutheran Church, Shakopee
Pr. Michelene Verlautz
Augustana Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Pr. Patrick Cabello Hansel
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rabbi Adam Spilker
Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul
Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning
Rabbi Avi Olitzky
Beth El Congregation, St Louis Park
Rabbi David Locketz
Bet Shalom Congregation, Minnetonka
Rabbi David Wirtschafter
Jewish Community Action
Rabbi Esther Adler
Hamline University Wesley Center
Rabbi Harold Kravitz
Adath Jeshurun, Minnetonka
Rabbi Melissa Simon
Shir Tikvah Congregation, Minneapolis
Rabbi Michael Latz
Shir Tikvah Congregation, Minneapolis
Rabbi Morris Allen
Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights
Rabbi Norman Cohen
Bet Shalom Congregation, Minnetonka
Rabbi Shosh Dworsky
Carleton College, Associate Chaplain for
Interfaith Life
Rabbi Sim Glaser,
Temple Israel, St Paul
Rabbi Yonatan Sadoff
Adath Jeshurun, Minnetonka
Rev. Allan Negstad
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Anita Hill
St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul
Rev. Anne Hokenstad
House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Richfield
Rev. Aretta-Rie Johnson
Resurrection Temple Church, St. Paul
Rev. Barbara Winter Martin
Non-Denominational, Sortell
Rev. Becky Sechrist
Good Samaritan UMC, Edina
Rev. Bruce C. Arnevik
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Rev. Chris Becker
Amazing Grace Lutheran Church,
Inver Grove Heights
Rev. Chris Duckworth
Grace Lutheran Church, St. Paul
Rev. Dana Reynolds
Michael Servetus Unitarian Church, Fridley
Rev. Diane M. Roth
Woodlake Lutheran Church, Richfield
Rev. Dr. Charles Gill
Pilgrim Missionary Baptist, St. Paul
Rev. Dr. James A. Siefkes
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr. Paul Sponheim
Luther Seminary, St. Paul
Rev. Gary Dreier
Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill, St. Paul
Rev. Grant Stevensen
St. Matthews Lutheran Church, St. Paul
Rev. James Erlandson
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, St. Paul
Rev. Jane McBride
First Congregational Church of MN UCC, Minneapolis
Rev. Jen Nagel
Salem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Jin Kim
Church of All Nations, Minneapolis
Rev. Joanne Sylvander
United Church of Christ
Rev. Joetta Schlabach
Faith Mennonite Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Jonathan Zielske
Hope Lutheran Church, St. Paul
Rev. Joo H. Kim
Knox Presbyterian Church, St. Paul
Rev. Karen Stevensen
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, St. Paul
Rev. Keith Olstad
St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul
Rev. Laurie Eaton
Our Saviours Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Lawrence Pray
Union Theological Seminary, Minneapolis
Rev. Lee Snook
Luther Seminary, St. Paul
Rev. Mark Vinge
House of Hope Lutheran Church, New Hope
Rev. Mary Albing
Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer,
Rev. Patricia Lull
St. Paul Area Council of Churches,
Executive Director, St. Paul
Rev. Paul Slack
New Creation Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Paul Tideman
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, St. Paul
Rev. Ralph Baumgartner
Galilee Lutheran Church, Roseville
Rev. Roland Hayes
St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Roseville
Rev. Roy Vanderwerf
Champlin United Methodist Church, Champlin
Rev. Sandy Dodson
Mayflower, St. Paul
Rev. Stacey Gassman
First Congregational Church of MN , UCC
Rev. Stan Sledz
Rev. Sue Tjornehoj
Director, Evangelical Mission-Minneapolis
Area Synod, ELCA, Minneapolis
Rev. Suzan Ireland
Judson Memorial Baptist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Tara Bauer
Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Trudy Cretsinger
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, St. Paul
Rev. Wendy Jerome
Unitarian Universalist
Roxanne Smith, Social Justice Dir.
St. Joseph the Worker, Maple Grove
Sister Amata Miller
St. Catherine University, St. Paul
Sister Betty Kenny, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester
Sister Gert Brixius
St. Bridget’s Church, Minneapolis
Sister Ramona Miller
Assisi Height, Rochester

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Louis Haut-Prokop
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Margaret Villanueva
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Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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