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Faith Leaders Applaud the Rejection of Issue 1


Wednesday, August 9, 2023 



Austin Schuler, | 540-280-3393


Faith Leaders Applaud the Rejection of Issue 1 


Columbus, OH – Yesterday, Ohio voters rejected Issue 1 during the August 8 special election. This resolution would have increased the threshold to pass citizen-led ballot initiatives from a simple majority to 60%. 


Below are statements from faith leaders applauding the rejection of Issue 1. 


Sister Gemma Doll OP, Dominican Sisters of Peace and Ohio Sisters Justice Network

“I stand on common ground with every Ohio citizen in protecting each precious vote by every person. Democracy and our Christian faith requires that we have a responsibility to express our vision for the common good of all. I thank God for all those who took time to vote no on Issue 1.”


Rabbi Ari Jun, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Cincinnati, Ohio

"Seeing Issue 1 defeated affirmed that Ohioans are willing to come out and stand up for their beliefs. There is still much work to be done; but, today, we proved how powerful we are when we come together."


Rev. Ray Greene Jr, Executive Director, Freedom BLOC, Akron, Ohio

“When God created Humankind, we received "Free Will.” The ability to make their own decisions. Defeating Issue 1 not only preserves democracy but also shows the power of a Sovereign God.”   


The Rev. Jed J Dearing, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio

“Tuesday’s vote confirmed that the people of Ohio value their vote and citizen-led initiatives as essential tools for the work of maintaining justice in our state. The camaraderie between people of faith from across religious backgrounds who worked to defeat Issue 1 demonstrated a unique spirit of care for the broader community that is a testimony to a unity that transcends difference and is present throughout our state. This week, we celebrate that Ohioans of all political backgrounds retain the ability to balance legislative overreach. I’m emboldened for the future of our state where people exercise their freedom with an eye towards love and justice.” 


Dr. Katelin Hansen, Deaconess, UM Church for All People 

"Defeating Issue 1 keeps people, rather than profit, at the center of our democracy. Grassroots citizens have re-asserted the right to their own governance. And they will continue to do so."


Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA

“Today is a win for the people over government authority. Ohioans defeated an attempt by the legislature to limit the influence of people of faith and conscience on our constitutional rights. Politicians will now need to adjust their policies according to the ‘will of the people.’”


The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Executive Director, The Ohio Council of Churches 

“The decisive rejection of Issue 1 sends a clear and hopeful signal that Ohioans value democracy over disenfranchisement and human dignity over political domination. The demise of Issue 1, with its asphyxiating grip on electoral integrity, enables people of goodwill to breathe new life into our ‘one person, one vote’ decision making process which is the bedrock of our democracy.” 

Victoria Hickcox, CAIR-Ohio Outreach Director, Mason, Ohio

"Yesterday, united against adversity, we stood strong. The defeat of Issue 1 wasn't just a vote, but a resounding 'NO' to discrimination, injustice, and the erosion of our rights. Our unity protected our democracy's essence, proving that when voices join, they triumph. We celebrate this win, and know that we have much more work ahead of us to defeat the corruption of our legislature.”


Dr. Ben Huelskamp, Executive Director, LOVEboldly, Westerville, Ohio

“LOVEboldly rejoices with partners, friends, and other Ohioans in the successful defeat of Issue 1. We remain convinced that protecting democracy is God’s work and that it is pleasing in God’s sight. Our collective engagement is an act of liberation for all people.”


Rev. Valerie Bridgeman, Ph.D., Dean & Vice President of Academic Affairs, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Delaware, Ohio

"I am thankful that democracy lives on in Ohio. The attempt to have minority rule by Issue 1 was an unconscionable attempt at a power grab. But by sharing with people the truth, the implications of the vote, and the role of ethical leadership, right thinking and right action prevailed. We can only keep a diverse and strong democracy if we work for it."


Rev. Alissia J. Thompson, Pastor, United Church of Granville, Granville, Ohio

“The people of Ohio have spoken loud and clear: our right to vote is not for sale. Outside monies cannot buy our conscience. Democracy demands free and fair elections. Voting no on Issue 1 ensures the sanctity of this freedom. Each and every vote matters in the divine economy of God.”


Rev. Joan VanBecelaere (retired), North Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lewis Center, Columbus, Ohio

“On August 8, the people of Ohio voted to uphold the dignity and worth of every person by supporting one person, one vote. The extraordinary turnout shows that Ohioans cherish the democratic principle and are willing to come to the polls, even in the midst of hot weather and the vacation season, to make their voices heard. Many thanks and blessings to all Ohioans for showing up for our sacred democratic rights.”


Rev. Beth Westphal, Interim Pastor, ELCA, Tiffin, Ohio

“I woke up this morning with my faith in our democratic process refreshed. My greatest concern, going into the election, was that the issue would either pass or fail with the 51% - 49% margin that has become the norm in our nation. It was wonderful to see that the margin was increased substantially by voters who crossed partisan lines to vote "no". This indicates to me that our faith in the democratic process is stronger than our partisan differences. It's a core belief we can build-on as we strive to heal our deep divisions. There will be plenty of issues to debate, and hard work to be done during the next election cycle, but today, I'm resting in the knowledge that a majority of Ohioans set aside their differences to support democracy.”


Deacon Nick Bates, J.D., Director of the Hunger Network in Ohio

Deacon Bates is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“Too often, our General Assembly's vision for a hunger-free Ohio is clouded by politics, corruption, apathy, and cynicism. With the failure of State Issue 1, Ohioans retain our right to bring issues directly to our neighbors for discernment, discussion, and passage. As we continue our efforts to guarantee all our neighbors their daily bread, Issue 1’s failure allows us to keep an important tool in the toolbox to strengthen our democracy and our communities for all Ohioans.” 




Faith in Public Life Action is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.

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