The Southern Reverend Taking on the Right: Rev. William Barber of Moral Mondays

The Moral Mondays Movement in North Carolina is building a powerful, grassroots, struggle against the right wing. Laura talks about Moral Mondays with Reverend Dr. William J Barber II, the architect of that movement about Reconstruction, Blacklivesmatter, faith and politics and LGBT rights.


Laura Flanders: We're going to talk next about profits of the money sort, profits of social sort, and prophecy. And what's happened to the prophetic tradition and there is literally no one better suited to talk about this in the United States right now than our guest. He is Reverend Doctor William J. Barber, the architect of the moral movement, Moral Monday movement coming out of North Carolina. And he's here with us in the studio. Reverend Barber, welcome to the program.

Rev. William Barber: Well, when we think about we're in the wealthiest nation and the poorest nation at the same time. And that the profit, p-r-o-f-i-t, is our driving decisions in a very immoral way. In my scriptures that I studied the greatest sin in religious text is idolatry, self worship. Which always then leads to a profit motive agenda which then leads to the oppression of people.

Laura Flanders:In many ways the Moral Monday movement came as a reaction to some of that. You want to fill our audience in a little bit?

Rev. William Barber: The Moral Monday movement started in April of 2013 with a series of civil disobedience in our state legislature in North Carolina. But it was in reaction to a veto-proof majority of extremists who called themselves Republicans were elected and the governor who said he was a moderate but was really was a Tea Party extremist. And in the first 50 days they attacked the working poor, cut a billion dollars from public education to take that money to go to private schools. They attacked women. They attacked the LGBT community. They refused healthcare. It was almost as though they had what I call extreme regressivism on steroids.

And then in March 2013 they decided to go after the one place that kind of evens the scale and that's the ballot box. And they chose the pass worst voter suppression laws, or begin the process for doing it, the same week that we were remembering Bloody Sunday. And so we decided from a faith perspective, Jews, Muslims, Christian, that if they were going to crucify the poor and crucify the sick and crucify the LGBT community and crucify healthcare and force hospitals to close and then crucify voting rights. Every crucifixion needed a witness, needed a challenge to it. And that we had this so, 17 people went in, they arrested them for protest, prayer, and singing. They arrested a woman in a wheelchair who had cerebral palsy on state property. The next Monday people came and by the end of the summer nearly a thousand people and by the next February 80,000 people showed up in one day saying that we would not allow profit to dominate our public square without a challenge....

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