The following remarks were delivered by the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland at the #MapOurFuture: People Over Politics virtual town hall on Thursday, September 1, 2022. The event focused on Moore v. Harper, the latest North Carolina redistricting case to head to the U.S. Supreme Court. The recording of the event can be found here.
Some of you have probably heard me say that I believe democracy is rooted in Imago Dei, the Image of God. In the creation story in Genesis, God says to the heavenly host who have been witnessing the previous creation spectacle, “Let us make humankind in our image.” And so it was. Our images, our faces are reflections of the creator, every human face matters. Every face is beloved. How much more so does every face count and deserve to participate fully in our democracy.
That’s where it starts in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. From there and through the entirety of the Bible, the arch of scripture is a constant pursuit of justice. If you’re a regular reader of the Bible you will have regularly encountered the mention of widows, orphans, and sojourners. God is constantly instructing God’s people through the prophets and the gospels to care for these folks. But why them? What’s so special about these 3 categories?
The patriarchal culture that defined ancient Mesopotamia, the place where the Bible took shape, only granted status to the men in the community. A widow is a woman without a man, an orphan is a child without a father, and a sojourner has no status because he’s not from around here. And yet, God constantly says, take care of these people. Treat them like you would treat your own family, creating a web of justice around people who have no rights granted to them by the cultural norms of the day.
We have to translate that same quest for justice into our current conditions. We have to understand the norms, and sometimes the laws, that are disenfranchising people and creating unjust conditions. Whether it’s voting rights, redistricting reform, fair courts, it’s all a piece of the same whole. Our current quest for justice continues to include protecting vulnerable people, but right now that means protecting democracy. A healthy democracy is the only way to insure “liberty and justice for all.”
My friends on this screen are the legal and legislative experts. I’m here to tell you as a person of faith that if the current trajectory runs its course, we will lose our democratic privileges. Our faces will vanish. These faces that are created in the Image of God. I’m siding with my colleagues in the quest to preserve our democracy and to stand in solidarity with every beloved face.
MORE ABOUT THE MOORE V. HARPER CASE AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
In Moore v. Harper, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the North Carolina courts had the power to enforce the state’s Constitution when striking down gerrymandered Congressional maps that disenfranchised voters. The Lawmakers’ case floats a debunked interpretation of the U.S. Constitution — known as the “independent state legislature theory” — which would eliminate checks and balances at the state level and give state politicians nearly unlimited power to dictate the rules for federal elections.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
- Take the online pledge against Moore v. Harper, make your plan to vote, and make your plan to bring others to vote with you this fall.
- Attend a town hall — head to scsj.org/tour for the latest.
- Make use of the educational toolkit for North Carolina advocates compiled by Common Cause and Southern Coalition for Social Justice.