FFRF condemns evangelical role in voter suppression

We The People

The Religious Right and its political allies are busy depriving citizens perceived to be Democratic — especially Black Americans — of their voting rights.

Tony Perkins, a leading evangelical and president of the Family Research Council, brags: “We’ve got 106 election-related bills that are in 28 states now. So here’s good news: There is action taking place to go back and correct what was uncovered in this last election.” This is perpetuating the Big Lie that Donald Trump won the presidential election. Michael P. Farris, president of the Christian nationalist Alliance Defending Freedom, responded to Perkins’ remarks with a hearty “Amen.” These groups mean business — and have the resources to inflict real damage. ADF, a frequent nemesis of FFRF, brought in $51.5 million in 2015-16.

The New York Times reports that another big player on the Christian nationalist scene, the Heritage Foundation, has pledged to spend millions of dollars to restrict voter access, including laws requiring identification for voters and limiting absentee ballots.

The hugely wealthy Susan B. Anthony List and the American Principles Project are other ultraright groups expanding their activities to include voter suppression.

“The Susan B. Anthony List and the American Principles Project recently announced a joint ‘election transparency’ campaign and set a fund-raising goal of $5 million,” reports the Times. “They hired a top conservative activist who is a former Trump administration official to lead it. They have organized conference calls for activists with other social conservative groups across the country, and say they have found participants to be enthusiastic about getting involved even if election law is entirely new to them.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has called for passage of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, already noting that its enemies include many enemies of secularism. The Times’ exposé on these machinations by deep-pocketed theocratic groups makes crystal clear why H.R. 1 is indeed a secular issue.

Adding to the threats to absentee voting (also a secular issue), is the grim announcement this week by the United States postmaster of a proposed huge rollback on consumer mail services. Louis DeJoy, one of “foxes in chicken coops” appointed by President Trump still remaining in D.C., brings no joy with his 10-year plan to slow down and cripple mail delivery and, thereby, also cripple the right to vote by mail.

It should be possible for the Biden administration to end DeJoy’s reign of terror at the U.S. Postal Service. But the threats to voter rights are even more daunting — and with many more players on the attack.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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