Let My People Go … Vote!
When the governor motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “I cheerfully make my defense.” – Acts 24:10 (NRSV)
On Holy Thursday 2021, three Black faith leaders (AME Bishop Reginald Jackson, Rev. James Woodall, president of NAACP of Georgia, and Rev. Shannon Jones of Concerned Black Clergy) and me, the lone white clergy person, had an audience with Georgia Lt Governor, Geoff Duncan.
My friends persuasively argued that SB 202, the so-called “Voting Integrity Act,” would disproportionately affect voters who are young, black and brown, as well as working-class white Georgians.
Duncan summarily dismissed all that, affirming the importance of making “voting easier and cheating harder.” Yours truly had to speak up right there. I said that by emphasizing cheating in the same breath as making voting easier, he gave oxygen to the big lie of voter fraud that has been invoked countless times to make voting harder for already marginalized people.
Nevertheless, the bill passed.
Those who say pastors should not get involved in politics must be reading a different Bible. It’s hard to find a biblical figure who didn’t mix it up with ruling authorities. Some, like Paul, did so cheerfully. Others, like Moses, were assertive and tenacious.
When your turn comes, I hope you are more successful than our delegation was that day. Regardless of the legislative result, whenever we advocate for the life, dignity, health, safety, equality, and voices of God’s people, we succeed.
God, give moral courage and spiritual strength to those in gritty grass roots to those in gilded governors offices.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.