Nationwide, Workers Join Clergy to Demand Lawmakers Advance Politics of Morality

From Common Dreams:

by Lauren McCauley

Demanding that elected officials and candidates for office embrace morally just policies that include living wages, health care for all, racial justice, and union rights, thousands of workers led by clergy are holding protests at 27 state capitals and Washington, D.C. on Monday.

Dubbed the Higher Ground Moral Day of Action, the demonstrations are being spearheaded by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Mondays movement, and accompanied by activists with the national Fight for $15 movement.

At the rallies, which began at 11am EDT, workers, clergy, and community leaders will read and deliver a public policy framework entitled the Moral Declaration, signed by more than 10,000 people and 2,500 faith leaders, to their respective governors, U.S. senators, and candidates for office.

The declaration calls for "a radical revolution of values," in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and disputes the prevailing notions of morality in politics.

"We challenge the position that the preeminent moral issues today are about prayer in public schools, abortion, and homosexuality," it states. "Instead, we declare the deepest public concerns of our faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, children, workers, immigrants and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations."

The declaration echoes the rousing address Barber gave at the Democratic National Convention in July, during which he called on Democrats to "shock this nation" as the "moral defibrillators of our time."

The agenda serves as a foil to the vitriol, and what it describes as the "divide-and-conquer strategies," being put forth by "extremist" lawmakers. It seeks to "retur[n] public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values," by standing firmly "against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family."

As such, the moral platform includes: criminal justice reform, expanded voting rights, "equality in education," healthcare for all, "fair policies for immigrants," "critiquing policies around warmongering," a "just transition away from fossil fuels," and "pro-labor, anti-poverty, anti-racist policies that build up economic democracy through employment, living wages, the alleviation of disparate unemployment."

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