Nearly 2,000 Catholic nuns have told US President Donald Trump to “respect our democracy and count every vote”.

– “Every voice – and every vote – is sacred, especially the most marginalized among us”

More than 1,900 sisters signed a letter to the president November 4 accusing “some elected officials” of “mak[ing] the immoral choice to hold onto power at any cost” after Tuesday’s presidential election, “including disenfranchising thousands, denying their most sacred gift: their voice”.

The Trump campaign and the president himself have been relentless in calling for the vote count to be stopped in key states, filing lawsuits to that end alleging that the ballot process has been plagued by irregularities and even “fraud”.

But an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) international observer mission to the election has described the Trump campaign’s claims as “baseless” allegations that moreover “harm public trust in democratic institutions”.

Coordinator of the OSCE mission Michael Georg Link insisted that “nobody – no politician, no elected official – should limit the people’s right to vote”.

In that same vein, the nuns writing to Trump November 4 reminded the president that “we took vows as Catholic Sisters, and you took a vow to uphold the Constitution”.

“Stay true to your vow. Count the votes. Ensure the United States lives up to its promise. Every voice – and every vote – is sacred, especially the most marginalized among us”.

– “Donald Trump’s reckless attempts to disenfranchise millions… is shameful and will not be tolerated”

In a statement, Sister Simone Campbell, one of the nuns who signed on to the letter to the president, denounced that “Donald Trump’s reckless attempts to disenfranchise millions of people across the country struggling during this pandemic is [sic] shameful and will not be tolerated”.

“It may be frustrating that we do not know immediately who won our 2020 Presidential election. Nonetheless, democracy is worth the hard work and the wait. We must insist that our democracy can and does work. We will give the vote counting the time needed to ensure that we accurately count every vote”, Campbell continued.

In the November 4 letter, the nuns remind Trump of Pope Francis’ new encyclical Fratelli tutti, in which the pontiff wonders: “Nowadays, hat do certain words like democracy, freedom, justice or unity really mean? They have been bent and shaped to serve as tools for domination, as meaningless tags that can be used to justify any action”.

“That question has never been clearer than today”, the sisters warn.

“Each vote left uncounted represents a soul with a story”, the nuns continue.

They also tell the president of their journeys across the country during the campaign, on which they discovered that “there are urgent needs to keep one another safe from disease, end structural racism, fix our broken immigration system, support social programs that pull families out of poverty, and expand health care access for all people”.

“Americans know that thoughts and prayers alone will not end their pain and suffering” over the multiple tragedies that have plagued the country in this 2020, “and that they must act”, the nuns write.

“That’s why it should be no wonder that we saw a historic number of people cast a ballot.

“Each of these individuals must have a say in who represents them in government. We must ensure that every vote is counted, in accordance with applicable laws, no matter how long the process takes”.

The sisters conclude their letter to Trump with a reminder to the president that “Catholic Social Teaching urges us to act on behalf of those who are marginalized in our society”.

“We have a responsibility to one another, not to help one political party win, but to live up to our values.

“In the words of Pope Francis we must act ‘In the name of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized and those most in need, whom God has commanded us to help as a duty required of all persons, especially the wealthy and those of means'”.

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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.