Former PC(USA) co-moderator appears in short film about faith and voting

Produced by two progressive faith organizations, ‘Faith Vote 2020’ premieres Oct. 21

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Denise Anderson, co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly and now coordinator of the PC(USA) Office of Racial and Intercultural Justice, appears in the short film “Faith Vote 2020.” (Photo by Michael Whitman)

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — The Rev. Denise Anderson, co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly, appears in a short film co-produced by Faith in Public Life Action, whose founder and CEO is a former PC(USA) national staff member, the Rev. Jennifer Butler.

“Faith Vote 2020: Answering the Urgent Call of Justice,” also co-produced by The Resistance Prays, features a number of ordained and lay faith leaders discussing experiences and teachings that led them to believe that voting is an important part of their faith practice.

The film is set to premiere at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Oct. 21 on both Faith in Public Life Action and The Resistance Prays Facebook pages. Click here to see the trailer.

“Everything that has to do with people is political,” said Anderson, who is now Coordinator for the PC(USA) Office of Racial and Intercultural Justice, in a preview version of the film. “I take very seriously Jesus’ command to love God, and to love one another as we have been loved by Jesus. Part of that is to vote in the interests of my neighbors, is to vote for people who will not do harm to my neighbors.”

Other leaders who appear in the film include Linda Sarsour, a Muslim civil rights advocate and co-founder of Until Freedom; Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, executive director of Religions for Peace USA; the Rev. Lesley Jones, a United Church of Christ minister and national advocate for LGBTQ rights; and Kentucky State Rep. Charles Booker, who was the runner-up for Kentucky’s Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate and founded the political empowerment group Hood to the Holler.

“Our faith is activated in the times when we face the most difficulty, when we go through the valleys,” Booker says in the film, “and as a nation, we are in a valley.”

The film does not specifically endorse or denounce any candidates or parties by name, but rather talks about broad motivations for voting including racial justice, care for people who are poor and marginalized, and ways to address climate change. Both Faith in Public Life and The Resistance Prays identify themselves as progressive faith organizations.

The Rev. Jennifer Butler is a Presbyterian minister and founder and CEO of Faith in Public Life, which is co-producing the short film “Faith Vote 2020,” being released Oct. 21. (Photo courtesy of Faith in Public Life)

“People of faith are playing a decisive role in this election,” said Butler, former staff member with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations who was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “With the future of democracy on the line, we will not rest. Through Faith in Public Life Action’s work in critical swing states, I see people of all faiths speaking out prophetically, protecting the right to vote and energizing their congregations to vote for justice and human dignity. Together, we will defeat the forces of white supremacy.”

Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, founder of the Resistance Prays and a regular guest on “Just Talk Live,” presented by the PC(USA) Christian social justice journal Unbound, said, “Every issue at stake in this election, from the coronavirus crisis to white supremacy and climate change, is a moral issue. The values of fairness, dignity, and equality that motivate faith voters impact every aspect of society.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been actively encouraging voter participation this month in the Presbyterian Voting Campaign, an initiative of its Bearing Witness Committee.

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