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The Resistance Prays

November 7, 2018
By Rev. Benjamin Perry

Today's Top Story
CNN reports that last night Florida restored voting rights to 1.4 million people the state had disenfranchised for felony convictions.
Scripture 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives.” – Luke 4:18
Break Every Chain
While much attention today focuses on Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives - and rightfully so - arguably the biggest story from last night’s elections was Florida’s passage of Amendment 4. Overnight, more than a million people whose right to vote had been stolen watched as 63% of the state rejected their disenfranchisement.
 
Obviously, this does not even begin to rectify the gross immorality of our criminal justice system, including the ways it preys upon communities of color and poor people of every race. It doesn’t address a cash bail system that imprisons people for their poverty. It won’t stop police violence or dismantle mass incarceration. And yet, it is one of the single most hopeful signs I’ve witnessed of true, bipartisan commitment to serious criminal justice reform.
 
In Jesus’ first sermon, he proclaims that the Lord sent him to bring good news to the poor and freedom for captives. If we are to truly follow his lead, that work must include a wholesale reimagining of how our criminal justice system operates - moving us away from punitive models that only propagate further misery toward a system that will effect true restoration and communal healing. As we do this work, it is crucial that we prioritize the voices of those who have borne the brunt of unjust statutes: restoring voting rights to 1.4 million people is a darn good place to start.
Act
This monumental achievement did not happen by accident. It is the hard-fought victory of activists like Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Consider making a donation to recognize their awe-inspiring work and support their future work to build political power among formerly incarcerated people.
Pray
Lord, thank you for igniting your passion for love and justice throughout this nation. Thank you for incredible candidates who ran unapologetically moral campaigns, decrying the burgeoning white nationalism that is tearing our country apart. Thank you for everyone who canvassed, knocked on doors, phone banked, and voted to support their success. We give particular thanks for how your love stirred Floridians' hearts, moving them to truly love their neighbor and to restore what had been stolen. May this be just the first in many steps to realign our laws with your love. Amen.
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