Religious leaders and faith groups across South Carolina converged on the Statehouse in Columbia Monday as part of a national effort to address how policies affect issues of social justice.
Led by Rev. Dr. William Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in North Carolina and national NAACP board member, the Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is part of a nationwide effort to challenge religious leaders to oppose policies that the group has deemed harmful due to their disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.
Barber, who many may remember from his impassioned speech during the recent Democratic National Convention, says it falls to voters of all faiths to stand together and call for access to quality education for every child, universal health care access, criminal justice reform, and ensuring historically marginalized communities have equal protection under the law.
“We believe these are serious times, and that our work is to look at public policy through the moral lens of justice for all and through the constitutional principle of governing for the good of the whole. Our work is to point out that extremist policies are morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent, and economically insane,” says Barber. “I want to say specifically that the goal of the ‘Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values’ day of action ... is to directly address the fallacies of the so-called ‘ultra-conservative’ and so-called ‘religious right’ that seeks to limit the moral debate to issues like religion in public schools, abortion, and homosexuality. We are challenging that as a form of theological malpractice. We are challenging that as not being true Evangelicalism.”
In addition to the national day of action, which includes marches on 30 state capitol buildings across the U.S., organizers are also asking faith leaders across the country to “preach and teach” in their places of worship at least two weekends leading up to Election Day in November, laying out what they believe citizens should demand from candidates and elected officials from the presidential race on down to local school board members.
Joining in Monday’s national day of action was Rev. Kylon Middleton of Mt. Zion AME Church in Charleston, who stressed his belief in combating racial injustice, the need for an increased minimum wage, and improved access to health care.
“We are united and committed to join the united hearts and raise our voices with others around this state in this movement so that we might bring about change and social justice,” says Middleton.