FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(This is the statement I shared at the March for Fair Maps)
I am pleased to represent the 18 Christian denominations and multiple thousands of Ohio Christians who together form the Ohio Council of Churches, a 104-year-old statewide Jesus Christ movement for unity, justice, and peace.
Central to our shared convictions is our belief that Jesus Christ came to give abundant life, a flourishing life, to all of humanity. We must note he did not confer life only to conservatives, nor did he provision life just for progressives. Jesus lovingly gives abundant life to people of all parties, communities, backgrounds, and ZIP codes. All means all.
Yet, we are here today, in fact we must be here today, because in Ohio there exists a clear and present danger to abundant life for certain segments of our great state. This is an affront to the flourishing of particular communities in our state. It is an orchestrated attempt to cancel the God-given human dignity of selected people in our state, all for the sake of reserving power for some and restricting power for others. This danger, this affront, and this attempted cancelation of human dignity is called gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering occurs when politicians and parties in possession of leftover and moldy, museum-worthy ideas seek to elevate these unpopular positions and the people behind them by using ill-gotten political power to surgically design and carve voting districts that enable them to choose their voters and thus ensure their electoral success.
All of this while muting the voices, diluting the votes, and thus trampling the aspirations of people who are not in their preferred districts, most often Black people.
To anyone with a functioning moral compass and a grade-school sense of right and wrong, gerrymandering is an immoral and unethical use of power that threatens democracy. It is a danger to abundant living, and it is an affront to human flourishing as offered through Jesus Christ.
As people of Christian faith, the Ohio Council of Churches calls for the rejection of Frankenstein-like, court-canceled, gerrymandered legislative maps in Ohio and for the crafting of fair legislative maps that place decision-making power exactly where it belongs: with people of all ZIP codes and communities across this magnificent land.
We call for fair maps from Cleveland to Cincinnati and from Findlay to Frankfort. Fair maps from Youngstown to Yellow Springs and Columbus to Coshocton. Fair maps from Ashtabula to Athens and East Palestine to East Cleveland. Let there be fair maps for all of Ohio!
Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr.
The Ohio Council of Churches