For Immediate Release
Contact: Ashley Wilson, email@example.com, 202-601-7856
NETWORK Joins Groups Telling President Obama: It Is Time to Move on Democracy Issues
With Election Looming, Secret Money in Politics and Attacks on Voting Rights Protections Must Be Addressed
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2016 – NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice joined a coalition of over 20 groups at a press conference in front of the White House calling on the President to take action to curb the influence of money in politics and urging Congress to act now to ensure equal access to the ballot box for all eligible Americans. Laura Peralta-Schulte, Senior Government Relations Advocate at NETWORK, said the following:
“Pope Francis tells us that good Catholics meddle in politics and that we have a moral obligation to fight for justice. Our faith tradition is clear: We believe all people are children of God and have an equal, fundamental right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. This ensures government focuses on the needs of the common good, rather than the interests of the monied few.
In this time of great inequality, full participation is critical to elect leaders that seek to lessen the disparities of wealth and opportunity crippling our nation. Citizens, however, can not fully act until Congress fulfills its constitutional responsibility by restoring the Voting Rights Act.
The gutting of this Act has allowed state lawmakers virtually free rein to put in place whatever unfair or discriminatory laws they can get passed. Some have taken full advantage of this – dramatically scaling back voting rights in ways that disproportionately – and very purposefully – affect people of color, the young and the elderly, low-income people and people with disabilities. These are the very people my faith calls me to respect and protect and their voices must be heard in the halls of power if we are to make any progress toward healing our fractured nation.
Access to the ballot box, however, is not the only way in which our democracy is threatened. Even for those of us who can easily make it to the polls, our voices are distorted by the large amounts of money being poured into the political system. This is wrong. Dark money is a poison intended to exclude. As Pope Francis warns, “The corruption of the powerful ends up being paid for by the poor, who because of the greed of others remain without what they need and deserve.” But we can reclaim our democracy.
NETWORK Lobby calls on Congress to immediately restore the Voting Rights Act to uphold the sacred right of participation. We too urge President Obama take immediate action to shine a light on dark money to ensure our vote, our voices and our values count.”
NETWORK, advocates for justice inspired by Catholic sisters, educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. They have a more than 40-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.