More than 800 faith leaders around the nation are demanding President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to pass voting rights legislation in 2022. In a letter released Dec. 23, the faith leaders wrote that the issue needs to be the administration’s “number-one priority.”

Congressional Black Caucus are increasing pressure on the Biden administration to pass voting rights legislation after Republicans blocked two Democratic-led measures.

“We cannot be clearer: you must act now to protect every American’s freedom to vote without interference and with confidence that their ballot will be counted and honored,” the leaders said in the letter. “Passing comprehensive voting rights legislation must be the number-one priority of the administration and Congress.”

The faith leaders who signed the letter come from Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths, including the Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr. of the Washington National Cathedral, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg of National Council of Jewish Women and Rabbi Charles Kroloff, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

The demands from the faith leaders comes after the family of Martin Luther King Jr. called for a “no celebration” of MLK Day without the passage of voting rights legislation.
 
Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, organized the letter along with several faith organizations. The African American Christian Clergy Coalition, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Faith in Public Life are among the organizers.
 
The leaders urged passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, the two bills that Senate Republicans have blocked. 
 
“Nothing – including the filibuster – should stand in the way of passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which have already passed the House and await Senate action and leadership,” the letter read. 
 
Democrats have been frustrated with the lack of advancement of the voting rights legislation and many have called for eliminating or changing the filibuster, but they don’t have the votes to end it. The Senate filibuster rule needs 60 votes to advance most legislation.
 
“It’s time to stop lamenting the state of our democracy and take action to address it. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so valiantly said in his Give Us The Ballot address, “the denial of this sacred right [to vote] is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.” That is why this Martin Luther King Day, we will not accept empty promises. Congress must serve the nation and future generations by immediately passing voting rights legislation,” said the letter.

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