Washington (AP) – More than 2,000 faith leaders and religious activists called on members of Congress to honor the result of November’s election and avoid “a delayed and drawn out objection” this week when President-elect Joe Biden’s win was set to be certified.
Signatories to the statement released Monday include many prominent religious liberals, such as Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network, and the Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of Washington’s Episcopal diocese.
Also signing on are a handful of evangelicals who have criticized President Donald Trump despite his overwhelming popularity among white evangelical voters, including World Vision president emeritus Rich Stearns.
“As faithful citizens, we are praying for a peaceful, smooth, and dignified transfer of power,” reads the statement, whose signatories were shared with The Associated Press ahead of their release.
“A delayed and drawn-out objection on January 6th would not overturn the will of the American people and change the outcome of the election,” it continues.
The statement was organized by the progressive groups Vote Common Good Faith 2020; Bend the Arc: Jewish Action; and the Union Theological Seminary. Several of its prominent signatories, including Williams-Skinner and Stearns, were not among the faith leaders who publicly endorsed Biden last year.
A dozen GOP senators and scores of House Republicans were expected to reject certification of Biden’s victory when Congress met to count Electoral College votes on Wednesday.
They have cited Trump-backed claims of vote fraud, despite agreement among nonpartisan election officials and the president’s recently departed attorney general that widespread voter fraud did not occur.
The objections have split the GOP and did not stop Biden’s ultimate certification. Biden’s transition spokesman dismissed the gambit as a “stunt.”
Some well-known voices in the religious right have also amplified the unfounded claims of fraud. Last month evangelical radio host Eric Metaxas and other religious conservatives spoke at a “Jericho March” for Trump supporters seeking to protest the election, and the same group is organizing another event this week.