Taking God’s Righteous Justice and Resistance to the Voting Booth | Sojourners

Taking God’s Righteous Justice and Resistance to the Voting Booth

Image via Heather Wilson

This month marks the two year anniversary of the Weekend of Resistance in Ferguson, Mo. Thousands of people traveled to St. Louis to take part in “Ferguson October” for a multi-day protest.

As I think back, I remember the overwhelming heartache of our nation’s black youth as they responded to the tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by a white police officer. I recall their anguish as they protested against racial violence and a flawed criminal justice system that demonizes black and brown lives. I am reminded of their grievances, which came to light during that time.

They were saddened. They were scared. They were angry. They said the political system was worthless. They said clergy and civil rights leaders from generations past failed to show up when it mattered. They said nobody heard their cries in the struggle against the pain of indifference, exclusion, and hopelessness.

Confronted with that trauma and anxiety, I, like so many of my clergy colleagues, realized that our communities across the country were entrenched in a life or death struggle with economic, social, and racial injustices that were and still are decimating our people. In the midst of this pain and trauma we, as faith leaders, hear a sacred call. Our faith demands that we heal the wounds and brokenness caused by policies that disregard black and brown lives and diminish our voices.

With less than two weeks before Election Day, faith leaders have another historic opportunity to answer that sacred call. In a democratic nation like this one, the ballot is one of the most powerful ways that people of faith can publicly disrupt the stagnant waters of apathy and compel the attention and policies that our communities so desperately need.

Between now and Nov. 8, faith leaders — evangelical Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Black Church leaders, Jews, Unitarian Universalists, and many more — are participating in the PICO National Network’s #TogetherWeVote Action Weekends. During events in five battleground states, we will bear witness to hope and inspire people of faith and moral courage to stand up for the most marginalized in our society.

By incorporating voter turnout into worship experience through sermons, prayer, and voter education, we will ignite the flames of righteous resistance and affirm the power of civic engagement for faithful communities.

The role of people of faith in moments like this is to move our nation toward embracing the higher values of our shared humanity. Now is the time to cast a vision focused on loving each other and ending hateful rhetoric and immoral policies divide us and our communities.

We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the voices of our families are heard at the ballot box and during the next administration.

Since Ferguson, our nation has experienced an endless series of tragedies. There is non-stop news of unarmed African Americans and Latinxs dying at the hands of police; a record number of deportations tearing apart immigrant families; and a steady flow of incarcerations and detentions that allow the prison industry to profit by locking up black and brown bodies.

We preach and we pray during these action weekends in order to demonstrate the faith community’s revolutionary love and unwavering commitment to radical transformation and righteous resistance.

We are here for nothing less than a profound awakening of faith that lives at the center of a people’s movement for economic and racial inclusion, justice, and healing.

Ferguson forced us to take off the blinders of religious respectability and be baptized into a righteous resistance. Let’s act like people of faith and moral courage, and take righteous justice and resistance to the polls.