Faith and Democracy

By Patrick Carolan, Executive Director

On January 21, 2010; the U.S. Supreme Court opened the gates for a flood of corporate money into our political system.  By reversing decades of campaign finance law with the landmark ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and through related changes in campaign finance laws we have deeply undermined American democracy.

A broad spectrum of faith traditions share religious teachings that recognize each person as a gift of the Creator and emphasize the importance of the essential humanity of every person.  These teachings have prompted people of faith to take an active part in movements for civil rights, especially voting rights for people of color and women.  Every person, our shared teachings tell us, should be able to contribute his or her ideas and concerns to the shaping of our democratic government and the policies it adopts.

Pope Francis I frequently comments about the corruptive influence of money. “We have created new idols; the worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal,”  said Pope Francis I in a speech to the Vatican on May 16, 2013.  In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”


The Citizens United ruling and related cases tipped the playing field towards the super wealthy. To succeed, candidates in competitive races must spend more time seeking and attending to very wealthy donors, rather than talking to constituents or fundraising from smaller dollar donors. There are many examples where money appears to speak more loudly than the voices of the electorate – often on issues on which the faith community advocates change. One does not need to look very far on a few very important issues those FAN addresses — immigration reform, climate change and gun safety — to see how money influences policy decisions.

As people of faith, we must ask what our priorities are as we move forward. Will we continue to allow a select few to overwhelm the voices of the many, or will we follow Biblical precedent and rally against abuses of economic wealth and power that sow injustice for the people? Will we settle for leaders who spend billions to divide us, or will we tell them that money would be much better spent to rebuild the communities? I know where I stand.  I hope you’ll join me in the groundswell.

With 16 states and nearly 500 cities and towns calling for an amendment to end Citizens United it’s time for our senators and representative to get on the record. This summer, FAN is joining a broad based coalition in calling for 160 Members of Congress to co-sponsor a constitutional amendment.

Be part of the movement to take back our democracy!  Please take a minute to send an email to your representative and senators and ask for them to join in co-sponsoring the Democracy Is For People amendment. You can do so by following the link below from our partner and ally Public Citizen.

Published in: on July 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm  Comments (1)  

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