interfaith non-partisan statement on our shared democratic values

This statement is a non-partisan effort focused on ensuring the integrity of the election process.

October 19, 2020

We, diverse communities of faith in the Washington, D.C. region, come together to speak as one at a critical inflection point in our nation’s history.  During this fraught election season, our country faces multiple crises; we are challenged by extreme polarization, an ongoing pandemic and resulting economic hardship, and the urgent call to address systemic racism in our society.

As leaders of faith and faith based organizations, we are obligated to raise a moral voice, to reassert the fundamental American values that have sustained our democracy for two and a half centuries and to urge our leaders to ensure the peaceful transition of power that is a hallmark of our democracy and our nation.

This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue. 

We are dismayed by escalating threats to the calm execution of our national elections: from concerns about interference with the U.S. postal service, to threats to undermine poll security and intimidate voters, and unfounded questioning of the credibility of election results.  We condemn implicit and explicit efforts to disenfranchise voters, especially those from marginalized populations, through sinister tactics including undermining—without any basis—confidence in the mail-in ballot system, restricting polling sites, or directly or indirectly calling for violence. 

And we decry the use of social media to foment conspiracy theories or incite radical extremists to take to the streets. 

All of these activities undermine citizens' confidence in the integrity of the upcoming election and its outcome and may discourage citizens from voting.  And, of even greater concern, they foment civic instability that could lead to violence and compromise our national security. 

It has never been more important for every eligible citizen to exercise the fundamental right to shape the future of our country.  Even in the midst of this pandemic, we exhort every citizen in Greater Washington to vote in whatever way is safe and comfortable—through mail-in ballots, early voting, or in-person voting on Election Day.  And we encourage anyone whose health and circumstances permit to volunteer at polling stations, to alleviate worker shortages caused by COVID.  

The American people expect and deserve a peaceful election and transition to a new presidential term—whether that involves the continuation of the Trump presidency or transfer of power to a Biden administration.  Our leaders must ensure that every voter will be able to cast a vote and that every vote will be counted.  And no matter who wins this election, it is critical that both parties and their supporters accept the will and wishes of the American people and not thrust the country into a constitutional crisis. 

For nearly 250 years, Americans have fought and died for the right to vote in free, democratic elections, from the battlefields of Europe to the rural towns of the Mississippi delta. Let us honor that legacy of sacrifice and freedom by conducting this election with integrity, safety, calm, and confidence in our nation’s future.

Organizational Signatories (in formation):

  • Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington
  • Bender JCC of Greater Washington
  • Congregation Har Shalom
  • Gesher Jewish Day School
  • Temple Rodef Shalom
  • Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia
  • Congregation Shaare Shalom
  • Agudas Achim Congregation
  • Shaare Tefila Congregation
  • Congregation Ner Shalom
  • Fabrangen Havurah
  • Congregation Or Chadash
  • Beth El Hebrew Congregation
  • Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation
  • Temple Emanuel
  • Congregation B'nai Tzedek
  • Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation
  • ADL Washington, DC
  • Congregation Etz Hayim
  • Tifereth Israel Congregation
  • Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County
  • Temple B'nai Shalom
  • Congregation Adat Reyim
  • Zoroastrian Association of Metro Washington, Inc (ZAMWI)
  • Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
  • Oseh Shalom Congregation
  • Temple Beth Ami
  • Shirat HaNefesh
  • Episcopal Church of the Ascension
  • Shaare Torah
  • Congregation Olam Tikvah
  • B'nai Israel Congregation
  • Temple Shalom
  • Adas Israel Congregation
  • Hill Havurah
  • Temple Solel
  • Temple Micah
  • Temple Beth Ami
  • St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church
  • Bahá'í Faith of Washington DC