As faith leaders, we recognize that all across Maine, from Millinocket to Kittery and from Boothbay Harbor to Farmington, our communities exhibit a richness of religious traditions and wide range of belief and practice.  While some identify as Protestant Christians, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists or Muslims, others identify as “other” or “none of the above.” At the same time, across our differences, many of us hold certain convictions in common. These core values matter, especially during stressful times, and they can help us stay united as Mainers even in the midst of our religious and political differences.

First, we believe that every person counts, no matter their age, ZIP code, race, gender, bank account balance or political affiliation. Each person, created in the divine image, has sacred worth and inherent value. All persons are to be treated with respect.

Second, we believe that God calls us to strive for justice and peace while respecting every person’s dignity.  The call to “love your neighbor as yourself” means, among other things, to protect and defend the neighbor’s human and civil rights. In our democracy, that means protecting and defending the right to vote.

Third, more and more of us have come to recognize, in “reading the signs of the times,” that in our highly polarized, highly contentious society, democratic processes are in jeopardy. Many of us are profoundly concerned that the right to vote in the 2020 election is under attack, that some people with authority would seek to impose barriers so that not every vote is counted and that the democratic principle of the peaceful transfer of power, once the will of the people has been established, is itself threatened.

In light of these convictions, we are choosing not to be bound up by fear, but instead to lead with love and courage.  We are thereby calling ourselves to task, along with other people of faith and good will in Maine, to protect and preserve democracy faithfully by taking these steps together:

• Voting.

• Ensuring that our neighbors can exercise their right to vote.

• Refusing to accept election results until all votes are counted.

• Upholding the principle of the peaceful transfer of power after a free, fair and respected election (“free,” meaning all eligible voters are able to vote safely and without hindrance; “fair,” meaning all the votes are counted transparently, and “respected,” meaning the results of the election are accepted).

• Supporting or joining those who engage in nonviolent direct action in the event of any unjust usurpation of state authority that undermines the democratic process.

As people of faith, we pray for a peaceful and orderly electoral outcome in November. However, should the worst occur, we will not be passive witnesses to the demise of our democracy. Because we hold democracy as a sacred trust, we pledge to safeguard it with all our God-given strength and spirit, so that we can tell our grandchildren that we did everything we could to secure a future where every person matters and every vote does, indeed, count. As a colleague puts it, “May our prayers for one another and for our nation be transformed into actions, and may all our actions be like prayers.”

We invite you to join us in making your own pledge to “defend democracy faithfully” by signing your name at DefendingDemocracyFaithfully.com.

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