Washington, D.C. — Religious leaders and activists are among the most powerful advocates for an inclusive democracy where everyone has a vote and a voice. A new report from the Center for American Progress sheds light on the aspirations of these leaders as they consider the values underpinning the faith community’s support of democracy.
In the runup to the 2020 presidential election, CAP interviewed 28 pro-democracy religious leaders of diverse faith backgrounds—some individually and some in groups—to better understand the motivations of religious Americans who are driven to protect and uphold American democracy. These leaders were asked about the values underpinning their work for an inclusive democracy where everyone has a vote and a voice.
These faith-based activists and advocates were organized to resist disinformation, get out the vote, push back against voter intimidation, and protect the results of the election. Yet the stories of their activism and how their faiths motivated them often go untold.
“The role American religious communities had in defending our democracy over the past year went largely unnoticed,” said Maggie Siddiqi, senior director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at CAP. “The inspiring words faith leaders shared with us make me feel hopeful about our democracy. I’m confident the faith community will continue to be a leading voice in the pro-democracy movement.”
Based on the interviewees’ responses, the authors identified five value-based themes underlying their collective insights:
- Building an inclusive, democratic movement for a more inclusive democracy
- Centering the experiences of Black Americans
- Grounding democracy in a shared sense of community
- Being political but nonpartisan
- Meeting the urgency of the moment to take on the challenges of white supremacy, economic inequality, police brutality, and other issues
The principles outlined in the report highlight the diversity of values that underpin the faith-based pro-democracy movement. These principles underscore the truths and beliefs that unite people of different faith traditions as they embrace this difficult but necessary work.
Read the report: “The Pro-Democracy Faith Movement: Prominent Religious Leaders Reflect On the Meaning of Democracy” by Maggie Siddiqi, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, and Carol Lautier
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