Church council joins voter ID opposition

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The campaign against Minnesota’s voter ID constitutional amendment is getting support from another religious organization.

Leaders of the Minnesota Council of Churches said today that they will formally oppose the ballot question and are asking members of all of the denominations they represent to do the same. Jewish Community Action, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services are also opposing voter ID.

Bishop Peter Rogness of the Saint Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the MCC board chair said during a news conference that he thinks the amendment will disenfranchise a substantial segment of the population.

“We’ve sought to widen the circle of who it is that is included in the phrase we the people,” Rogness said. “This amendment goes in the other direction. It begins to restrict our understanding of we the people.”

Still, public opinion polls have shown most Minnesotans support the proposed requirement of showing a photo identification in order to vote. The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, said those voters need to better understand the potential impact of the amendment.

“The churches of the Minnesota Council of Churches are used to the kind of discussion and dialogue in which people don’t agree. So, we think it’s quite possible that there will be vigorous discussion. In fact, that’s what we’re calling for, vigorous debate on this amendment.”

The MCC is made up of 24 church governing bodies of different denominations, which represent about one million Christians.

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