"Faithful Democracy" Money in Politics Campaign

FAN's Jason Miller with fellow Virginia Residents on Lobby Visit to Senator Warner's office in 2014.
FAN's Jason Miller with fellow Virginia Residents on Lobby Visit to Senator Warner's office in 2014.
Faithful Democracy Coalition at the June 2014 Bipartisan Interfaith Congressional Briefing
Faithful Democracy Coalition at the June 2014 Bipartisan Interfaith Congressional Briefing
Public Citizen's Aquene Freechild and FAN's Jason Miller with the "corporate wall of power" that participants dismantled during the course of April 2015 EAD workshop.
Public Citizen's Aquene Freechild and FAN's Jason Miller with the "corporate wall of power" that participants dismantled during the course of April 2015 EAD workshop.
Dolores Huerta and the "Golden Calf" at the Democracy Awakening Prayer Vigil in 2015.
Dolores Huerta and the "Golden Calf" at the Democracy Awakening Prayer Vigil in 2015.
FAN sponsored a Money in Politics Symposium in Manchester, New Hampshire in January 2016
FAN sponsored a Money in Politics Symposium in Manchester, New Hampshire in January 2016
FAN staff and an interfaith coalition delivering petitions calling on Congress to uphold the Johnson Amendment
FAN staff and an interfaith coalition delivering petitions calling on Congress to uphold the Johnson Amendment
Delivering another round of petitions with faith leaders ensuring that the Johnson Amendment is not included in a tax reform bill in 2017.
Delivering another round of petitions with faith leaders ensuring that the Johnson Amendment is not included in a tax reform bill in 2017.
HR1 introduction at the U.S. Capitol in January 2019
HR1 introduction at the U.S. Capitol in January 2019
FAN's Director of Advocacy Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF leads the 2019 Ecumenical Advocacy Days litany calling on Sen. McConnell to "Let us Vote!"
FAN's Director of Advocacy Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF leads the 2019 Ecumenical Advocacy Days litany calling on Sen. McConnell to "Let us Vote!"
Faithful Democracy Members including FAN's Jason Miller attend the June 2019 #RestoretheVote Press Conference at the House Triangle.
Faithful Democracy Members including FAN's Jason Miller attend the June 2019 #RestoretheVote Press Conference at the House Triangle.
FAN Staff attended the July 2019 U.S. Senate Introduction of the Amendment to Overturn Citizens United in front of the Supreme Court.
FAN Staff attended the July 2019 U.S. Senate Introduction of the Amendment to Overturn Citizens United in front of the Supreme Court.

Overview of the Campaign:

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that we must not serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) After hearing God’s call to “rebuild His Church” a young St. Francis famously renounced his wealthy merchant father and all his worldly possessions. Our faith teaches us that we must recognize each person as a gift from God, and that we must emphasize the importance of the essential humanity and dignity of each person. And, as Pope Francis calls us to "meddle in politics" we interpret this concept as a requirement that all Americans must have an equal say in the public square.

Following the Gospel example of Jesus and taking our cues from both St. Francis and Pope Francis, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) has taken the lead on an interfaith coalition, "Faithful Democracy" looking at the issue of money in politics. The coalition looks at the issue from both a faith and legislative perspective, using the issues of climate change, gun violence prevention, and immigration/private prisons as catalysts. Ultimately, we seek to advocate for overturning the Citizens’ United ruling and passage of some form of public financing to stop the corrosive influence of unchecked big money on our democracy.

It is imperative that for a fully functioning and representative government of all Americans that we institute reforms in the areas of campaign finance, voting rights, and good governance. FAN has been an instrumental faith voice calling for those reforms since the Citizens United decision nearly a decade ago.

From the coalition’s beginnings in the wake of the Citizens United decision, FAN and Faithful  Democracy’s work with the WISC (Washington Interfaith Staff Committee) was unique—it was multi-issue and worked with both faith-based and good governance partners including Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and Democracy 21. FAN and Faithful Democracy are now seen as the major faith-based players on issues of money in politics and good governance. The WISC community involvement in the work of getting big money out of politics stretches back even further than the passage of Citizens United. “Religious Leaders for Campaign Finance Reform” was instrumental in the passage of McCain-Feingold in 2002. After Citizens United, it was imperative for WISC to once again focus on issues of good governance and FAN was tasked with taking the lead.

Join us as we bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth and implement vital reforms that are necessary to have a fully functioning and healthy democracy.

Faithful Democracy In Recent Years:

2019 started with positive momentum with the introduction of HR1 in the House of Representatives. There is a new-found energy on Capitol Hill around these good governance reforms with the introduction and passage of HR1 in the House of Representatives. The spring 2019 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference had a domestic focus on voting rights. FAN was instrumental in crafting the "domestic ask" around this issue, led an interactive workshop on voter suppression in local communities, and helped with the public witness the morning of the Lobby Day which ended with a procession and petition delivery to Senator McConnell's office.

2018 saw the Franciscan Action Network sign onto the "Declaration For American Democracy" with over 100 faith based and good governance non-profits calling on Congress to pass a money in politics and voting rights reform package. Hill visits continue around this effort. FAN is one of the lead faith-based organizations that are a part of DFAD and are continuing conversations with other faith based orgs to get them signed onto this campaign.

Faithful Democracy's work in 2017 largely focused on keeping the Johnson Amendment intact, which would protect the 501c3 status of our Churches keeping them non-partisan and ensuring that they continue to provide vital social services. This work with a variety of faith and non-profit partners has included op-eds, a sign on letter delivered to every member of Congress, and individual House office visits. One major victory in 2017 was ensuring that overturning the Johnson Amendment (akin to 'Citizens United 2.0') was not part of the tax reform package.

2019 Highlights and Priorities:

Click here to view the Faithful Democracy priorities for 2019.

Click here to for a presentation by FCNL's Jose Woss the co-facilitator of Faithful Democracy on voter suppression efforts across the country.

2019 Faith Based Organization Letter of Support for the  Declaration for American Democracy.

Franciscan Action Network Statement for the Record in Support of H.R. 1, For the People Act of 2019: Submitted to the House Committee on the Judiciary

Faith Community Supports For the People Act HR1

Faithful Democracy Sign on Letter Sent to the Members of the House of Representatives ahead of the HR1 Vote


Accomplishments of the Campaign Include:

  •  A 2014 sign on letter to the House of Representatives that highlighted the various pieces of legislation that would attempt to fix the problem of money in politics.

  • The coalition published a series of op-eds (found here, here, here, and here) around money in politics specifically tailored to key legislative issues.
  • The coalition co-sponsored an interfaith, bipartisan House congressional briefing held in June 2014 with Rabbi Justus Baird from Auburn Seminary in New York City and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), and the United Church of Christ’s Rev. Sandy Sorensen on the issue of money in politics from a faith and legislative perspective. FAN Executive Director Patrick Carolan moderated the event.
  • Over a dozen direct Hill visits to Senate offices on the Udall Amendment SJ Res. 19, a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress the ability to once again regulate campaign finance. Further Hill visits to Senate and House offices have continued into 2015.

  • A workshop at Catholic University of America in Fall 2014 that brought together faith leaders, academics, and non-profit leaders to analyze the role of money in politics.

  • An article from Catholic News Service about the event at CUA which is also a good primer about the intersection of faith groups and the issue of money in politics can be found here.

  • Two different MIP workshops at the April 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference. The first workshop examined the rise of for-profit prisons. The second workshop focused on problems in our communities affected by MIP and how workshop participants could advocate for change.

  • A June 2015 presentation at the Franciscan Federation conference in Indianapolis, Indiana to Third Order Franciscans all across the country about the role of money in politics and how it affects the "first issues" that Franciscans care and advocate about. An additional money in politics workshop with Doug Hughes, "The Gyrocopter Guy" was held at the 2016 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference.

  • A January 2016 Money in Politics Symposium in New Hampshire with local faith and government leaders as well as Sr. Simone Campbell and Karenna Gore.

  • Coordination and implementation of two different interfaith prayer vigils including the creation of a "golden calf" at the April 2016 Democracy Awakening rally and campaign.

  • Johnson Amendment Resources:

    View photos from the letter delivery here.

    Read the letter that was delivered to the House offices here.

    An article about the Johnson Amendment letter delivery in The Hill can be found here.

Take Action:

Click here to sign the people of faith money in politics petition calling for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

Click here to sign the Faith Voices petition urging Congress to keep the Johnson Amendment intact.

Campaign Resources:

Money in Politics Op-Ed
Climate Op-Ed
Climate Money in Politics Presentation Slides
House Sign on Letter
Climate One Pager
Gun Violence Prevention One Pager
Immigration/Private Prisons One Pager
House Briefing Media Advisory
House Briefing Pictures
Fact Sheet on Political Spending Post-Citizens United
SJ Res. 19 Udall Amendment Press Release
Money in Politics House of Representatives Sign-On Letter
Institute for Policy Research Bulletin on Money in Politics
Catholic News Service article about Oct. 1st workshop at Catholic University
National Catholic Reporter Interview about MIP with FAN ED Patrick Carolan
Money in Politics State Based Supporters Map
Sojourners Op-Ed on the Pope and Money in Politics
Letter from Missisippi Faith Leaders in Support of "Faithful Democracy" Campaign
Private Prisons Op-Ed in Houston Chronicle
Video: Morality and Big Money - We The People Convention with FAN's Patrick Carolan
Video: New Hampshire Money in Politics Faith Symposium
Supreme Court Sign On Letter
Money in Politics: What's FCNL Doing About It?
Op-Ed by FAN's Patrick Carolan: What Religion Has to Do With Campaign Finance and Voting Rights
"Money still talks the loudest in gun violence debate" Op-ed on money in politics and gun violence
"US Civil Rights Groups Demand Action to End Voter Suppression"--August 2019 Article on Voting Rights Act Anniversary Rally

Five Part Series on the Role of Faith and Money in Politics

Part One: To Change the Power Behind the Law
Part Two: Renew Our Democracy: Break the Chains Between Campaign Finance and Private Prisons
Part Three: Caught in the Net of Corporate Greed: Our Immigrant Sisters and Brothers
Part Four: Buying a Seat at the Negotiating Table: Money and Trade Agreements
Part Five: Fiscal Transparency and Good Governance: Ensuring that communities bearing the burden receive the profits

Questions?

For more information about the campaign, email Jason Miller, FAN Director of Campaigns and Development.

Buying a Seat at the Negotiating Table: Money and Trade Agreements - See more at: http://www.ecclesio.com/2015/05/buying-a-seat-at-the-negotiating-table-m...