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Church Council Urging Vote Against Voter ID

Minnesota Council of Churches represents the leaders of many Protestant denominations.

Seeking to bring attention to what it calls the "voter restriction amendment," the Minnesota Council of Churches announced its opposition to a state constitutional amendment that would require voters show photo identification at the polls. 

The amendment, said Rev. Peg Chemberlin, the Council's Executive Director, has fallen too far out of the public eye.

"We encourage and want a vigorous debate and conversation in the next few weeks on this amendment," Chemberlin said. "In fact, I hope there's some pushback. I hope people ask 'What's going on? Why have you taken this position?'"

In a written statement, the Council's President, St. Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Bishop Peter Rogness said “the fundamental issue that brings us here is our concern for those for whom this step – which seems easy for most in the mainstream – becomes a barrier to participating in the shaping of our public life together.” 

It was an issue of “defending the right of the last, lost and least to vote and therefore oppose the amendment," he added.

The Council's decision is not binding on member denominations, Chemberlin said. Instead, the decision by the Council's board was a matter of denominations "calling on each other to encourage this vigorous debate at the local level."

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA, which represents much of the western Twin Cities, said that many of the synod's churches were intensely focused on defeating the state's marriage amendment, and the synod would not likely be organizing them to engage in the Voter ID issue.

Chaz Ruzak of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area said his denominations offices has provided local churches with many neutral voter education resources, but hadn't taken a stand on the issue.

As of publication time, representatives of other denominations in the Minnesota Council of Churches couldn't be reached for comment.

Many religious and religious-based organizations have declared their opposition to the Voter ID amendment, including Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and liberal groups ISAIAH and Jewish Community Action.

Wm Shears October 30, 2012 at 04:54 PM
"You people?" Okay, Mrs. Romney.
Susan October 30, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Yep. I emailed James Sanna and another editor last night as soon as I saw it. If you look at the top of the story, you will see and "email author" link after his name. If you click on that, you will get a quick and easy way to let the editor/author know of the spam.
Mike Schoemer October 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Yes. The user has been removed. Thanks
Lawrence Gordon October 31, 2012 at 11:51 PM
In a written statement... Bishop Peter Rogness said “the fundamental issue that brings us here is our concern for those for whom this step – which seems easy for most in the mainstream – becomes a barrier to participating in the shaping of our public life together.” I would really like to see the proof that voter id prevents anyone from participating in the shaping of our public life together or disenfranchises anyone who has a legal right to vote in his home precinct.

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