1998 NCC News ArchivesReligious Leaders Disappointed at Failure
from Signatories to Religious Leaders' Statement
The Rev. Dr.
Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches,
pointed out the advantages of more comprehensive reform: "Clean money campaign reform
addresses voters' four major concerns that: (1) campaigns are too expensive; (2) special
interests have too much influence; (3) good candidates without money or connections to
special interests do not have a fair chance of competing for office; and (4) politicians
spend too much time raising campaign money instead of devoting their full energies to the
duties of public office."
| WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 26, 1998 -- Leaders from
11 religious denominations and faith groups expressed their profound disappointment at the
failure of campaign finance reform in the Senate today. In their statement they call for
much more comprehensive reform.
U.S. religious leaders - organized as "Religious Leaders for Campaign Finance Reform" -- have worked hard for campaign finance reform. In a Feb. 13, 1997, "Open Letter to Congress," they asserted, "Campaign finance reform is not simply a political or public relations dilemma but a moral matter. The temptation to use money to buy unjust favors is an ancient one. The prophet Amos thundered against those merchants who "sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes.and push the afflicted out of the way." (Amos 2:6-7 NRSV).
The two co-chairs of Religious Leaders for Campaign Finance Reform, the Rev. Jay Lintner, Director of the Washington Office for the United Church of Christ and the Rev. Albert Pennybacker, Washington Office Director for the National Council of Churches, pledged to continue the effort at the state level.
Today's statement by religious leaders reads:
"Congress has defeated partial and small steps toward campaign finance reform. The power and the attraction of money has proven too great. The lesson to be learned is that only comprehensive reform, which breaks the power of money in elections, can restore the public trust that has been eroded by the present corrupt system of campaign finance.
"We therefore call on religious people and all citizens who want to restore integrity to our elections to work for comprehensive reform at the state level, putting in place public financing of elections so that the public may reclaim their politicians who are now too much under the control of those currently paying to put politicians in office.
"For government to be just and fair, elections must be fair. The public must have confidence in the integrity of just government. The Senate has badly eroded that trust, and the people must now restore it."
Signing on to the statement were:
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