More than 800 religious leaders pressure Biden to pass voting rights legislation

Over 800 religious leaders are calling on the Biden administration and Senate Democrats to pass voting rights legislation next year, CNN reports.

"We cannot be clearer: you must act now to protect every American's freedom to vote without interference and with confidence that their ballot will be counted and honored," the leaders said in a letter set to be released Thursday. "Passing comprehensive voting rights legislation must be the number-one priority of the administration and Congress."

The letter comes after Republicans blocked two Democratic-led measures and was organized by Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King along with several other religious organizations. The King family called for "no celebration" of MLK Day until voting rights legislation is passed.

"We should be in a phase of expanding, protecting and preserving the right to vote and that's why the redress is to come to the federal government," Martin Luther King III told CNN. "We believe the filibuster has to be abolished. This relic has to go. It is really unfortunate that we have to have this discussion this time. ... This should have already been done."

Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Colorado, Dr. Stephany Spaulding, said the letter isn't just about protecting voting rights.

"Deeper than that is the reality that we can no longer continue to exploit the lives and the pain of our communities," Spaulding told CNN. "Every two to four years we see politicians coming to sacred space, to our congregations, and making promises to our members and saying how life in this realm is going to get better for our congregations and members. And then we end up in moments like this, where we are on the brink of tremendous failure."

Read more at CNN.