Do you favor a law requiring citizens to present a recent picture ID before voting, one with a picture less than 5 years old?
Requiring an ID with a recent picture allegedly lessens the risk of voter fraud even more than simply requiring picture ID because it makes it easier for poll workers to determine if the person in the picture is the person presenting the ID.
What If ….?
Would you favor that same law if legislative leaders put it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment in order to intentionally discriminate against white, elderly people and to target them to lower the number of white, elderly people who vote?
What if these legislative leaders constructed this law with the intent to discriminate against white, elderly people for political gain because that group typically votes for the other party?
What if they determined that an impactful percentage of elderly people do not drive and because white, elderly people disproportionately have more friends and family available to drive them, a disproportionate share of them do not have recent picture ID? And many of these elderly people rely on social security and will choose to buy food and heat rather than a new picture ID.
How about now? Would you vote for a constitutional amendment requiring a recent picture ID having this knowledge?
Besides the recent part, what is the difference between it and the amendment now on the North Carolina ballot?
The only difference seems to be the group targeted. This same type of targeting and intentional discrimination is happening with the NC Voter ID amendment now on the North Carolina ballot.
The U.S. Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 decision, ruled that NC legislative leaders, in seeking to require people to present picture IDs before voting and other voting changes via a recent legislative act
- “target African Americans with almost surgical precision”
- engaged in “intentional discrimination,” and
- acted with “discriminatory intent.”
The Department of Justice noted that North Carolina legislative leaders changed the act to allow “only those types of photo ID disproportionately held by whites and excluded those disproportionately held by African Americans. Government employee IDs, student IDs, most expired DMV-issued IDs, and public assistance IDs were all eliminated from the list of approved IDs.”
The court held that the legislative leaders sought to take away African-American voters’ opportunity to exercise significant influence “because [they] were about to exercise it….”
These legislators tried to take voting power from African Americans one time via a legislative act, and now they have placed a Voter ID constitutional amendment on the ballot to try a second time to take from African Americans.
On the Other Side
Jesus told a story of three people who had the opportunity to help a man who had been taken from.
Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was attacked by robbers and left beside a road. A priest and a Levite walking the same road saw the injured man but passed by without helping him. A Samaritan came to the injured man and took care of him. Jesus indicated the priest and the Levite did not act as God wanted, violating one of the greatest commandments. As to the Samaritan, Jesus told his listeners to “go and do likewise.”
The priest and Levite did not merely pass by the man. Jesus explained that after they saw the man, they passed by “on the other side” of the road, where they could avoid seeing the full extent of the man’s injuries.
The priest and the Levite had their eyes on what they wanted, on where they wanted to go, and not on the injured man.
An Elon University poll shows 92% of North Carolinians had heard only some, little, or none about the amendments as of early September. Many of them will not know of any problem with the proposed amendment when voting.
Others, however, will be aware of a possible problem with the amendment, but, just like the priest and the Levite, will walk on the “other side of the road,” avoiding seeing the problem closer, denying there is a real problem, or thinking they or someone else will take care of it later.
Conclusion: Coming Over the Hill, a Second Time
Still others will vote for the amendment— for this second try at taking from African Americans — with knowledge of the legislative leaders’ discriminatory intent, knowing that these legislators sought the photo-identification requirement in order to “target African Americans” and to engage in “intentional discrimination” against African Americans.
In the Good Samaritan story, it would be as if the priest and Levite, when near the injured man, saw the robbers coming back over the hill to attack him a second time.
And, despite having the ability to protect the injured man with just a word (“Against”), the priest and Levite looked the injured man in the eye, handed the robbers a weapon, and walked on towards where the two wanted to go.
Sources & Notes
This article was originally published on October 23, 2018, as “NC Christians and Voter ID: On Racism, Sin, and the Good Samaritan.”
The text of NC’s Voter ID amendment ballot language is here.
Quotes and information regarding the court of appeals decision: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s written decision in NC State Conference of the NAACP et al. v. McCrory, No. 16-1468 (4th Cir. July 29, 2016). The Supreme Court declined petitions to review the Court of Appeal’s decision (petitions for certiorari) after North Carolina governmental officials disagreed on who could seek review. For more on the 2016 opinion from the Court of Appeals, see Steve Gardner, “NC’s Voter ID Law is Intentionally Racist, Rules U.S. Court of Appeals: Racism on the Ballot as a Constitutional Amendment,” AuthenticTheology.com (October 17, 2018). See also Steve Gardner, “Conservative Christians Can’t Vote for NC’s Voter ID Amendment: Here’s Why,” AuthenticTheology.com (October 19, 2018).
“The new ID provision ….”: Brief for the United States before the Supreme Court in arguing review of the Court of Appeals decision is not necessary, page 4 (citations omitted).
Elon University poll: Elon University, “Elon Poll: N.C. voters know little about proposed constitutional amendments,” Elon.edu (September 6, 2018).
Good Samaritan story: Luke 10:25-37 (NIV).