Florida's Amendment 4: The time to act is now!



And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8
 
Among the 12 Amendments that Florida voters will decide in the November 2018 election, Amendment 4 is the only one which pertains to the right to vote in an election. Some people describe voting as a right, while others describe it as a privilege. Whatever our perspective, Florida has almost 1.4 million residents from whom this right and privilege has been withheld.
 
We have partnered with Faith in Florida as they lead The Let My People Vote (LMPV) campaign, a project of Faith in Florida which invites congregations of faith from across the state of Florida to support giving over 1.4 million Floridians a second chance at redemption.

As United Methodists, faith is firmly grounded on the principles of forgiveness. restoration and redemption. This endeavor supports current efforts to amend Floridas constitution to immediately restore the right to vote to individuals once they have completed all portions of their sentence (except those who have committed murder or any sexual crime).

¶ 164. (From the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church 2017-2020)
            To read Social Principle ¶164. H) in its entirety click here)

H) Criminal and Restorative JusticeIn the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self, and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.

Most criminal justice systems around the world are retributive. These retributive justice systems profess to hold the offender accountable to the state and use punishment as the equalizing tool for accountability. In contrast, restorative justice seeks to hold the offender accountable to the victimized person, and to the disrupted community. Through God’s transforming power, restorative justice seeks to repair the damage, right the wrong, and bring healing to all involved, including the victim, the offender, the families, and the community. The Church is transformed when it responds to the claims of discipleship by becoming an agent of healing and systemic change.
 
Florida joins Iowa and Kentucky as one of just three states in the nation to automatically and permanently prevent anyone who has committed a felony from voting through lack of restoration of their Civil Rights. A grassroots movement headed by former felons and people of faith seeks to remove the obstacles!
 
Bishop Ken Carter reminds us of this opportune moment in history. “A majority of Floridians in both political parties support Amendment Four, which is before us next month (two weeks). This is a story of accountability, redemption, faith and forgiveness. The law is rooted in the systemic racism of our past. It is right for those who are convicted of crimes and have paid their debt to be fully restored as citizens. Again, this is bipartisan. I’m hoping we can take this step toward justice.”
 
Become informed and inspired toward just action on November 6! Thank you in advance for ensuring access to exercise a right for a broader spectrum of persons across our state.
 
Yours for Justice on the Journey!
Florida Conference Social Justice Committee
Prison Ministry Task Force
 

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