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‘Moral Mondays’ leader starts ‘moral revolution’ tour

The Rev. William Barber, leading a Moral Monday demonstration in Raleigh, N.C., in July 2013.


The Rev. William Barber, leading a Moral Monday demonstration in Raleigh, N.C. in July, 2013.

Photo courtesy of twbuckner via Wikimedia Commons

The Rev. William J. Barber II, leading a Moral Monday demonstration in Raleigh, N.C., in July 2013.

(RNS) The leader of the “Moral Mondays” movement and a prominent New York minister are joining forces for a 15-state “moral revolution” tour to counter the nation’s conservative voices.

“Way too much of our national discourse has been poisoned by hateful language and policies,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, who brought thousands to weekly protests at the North Carolina General Assembly, in an announcement. “True faith and true evangelicalism place love, justice, and compassion at the center of our public life.”

The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., senior minister emeritus of New York’s Riverside Church, will join Barber for the tour beginning April 3 in New York and continuing through 14 more states.

Barber and Forbes hope to galvanize clergy and others to gather at state capitols on three consecutive Mondays in September, as well as after the Republican and Democratic national conventions, The Associated Press reported.

The Rev. James Forbes Jr., national minister, Drum Major Institute. Photo courtesy of Drum Major Institute

The Rev. James Forbes Jr., national minister, Drum Major Institute. Photo courtesy of Drum Major Institute

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“We will be crying out that America’s problems cannot be solved without looking at the moral and spiritual values which are presently driving this nation,” Forbes told RNS.

The ministers will be joined by the Rev. Traci Blackmon, a United Church of Christ executive who worked with “Black Lives Matter” protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown, and Sister Simone Campbell, who started the “Nuns on the Bus” tours of the country in 2012 to protest budget cuts that affected the poor.

The new tour will feature training in “moral political organizing,” followed by revival services, the first of which will occur at a Reform synagogue in Raleigh, N.C., on April 4, the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and his sermon at Riverside exactly a year before.

“In reference to the Vietnam War in his 1967 sermon, Dr. King told the nation that ‘silence was betrayal,’” Barber said. “If silence was betrayal in the 1960s, revival is a necessity in 2016.”

(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS)

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • No, religion is not the problem, no more than politics or Washington are “problems.” It’s perversion of religion and government for hateful or selfish purposes that is the problem.

  • The problem is… us. It’s that simple. The problem is us. Like it or not, the folks who we accuse are no different than us… persuaded that they are right and determined to win because it is best for all concerned. The problem is us… willing to look at candidates in terms of how well they will butter our bread, regardless of what that means for anyone else who is other than … us. It is the human condition universal and unvarnished. It isn’t red. It isn’t blue. It isn’t me. It isn’t you. It’s … us. The fix… must be for … us. It can’t be, it won’t be good for me… if it’s not good for you.

    Hopefully Moral Monday’s will produce actual positive change in the 15 states and beyond. Given that poisonous partisanship is as blue as some think it is red, such positive change is as likely as what didn’t happen following the work of the Moral Majority, the Million Man March on Washington, etc.

  • Our morals are reflected in our treatment of our very poor (not low wage workers, but the truly poor), and because of this, I have no optimism about our foreseeable future. Somehow, we came to believe that human worth itself is determined by income and employment potential. In real life, not everyone is able to work (health, etc.), there aren’t jobs for all, and we have become comfortable with simply disappearing them from the discussion, from our consciousness.

    History has shown that turning any segment of the population into something less than legitimate human beings, deserving of the most basic human rights (per the UDHR) of food and shelter, is a profoundly dangerous thing. And this is what we have done.