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Public Theology: Moral Monday: A Joint Statement by Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Methodist Leaders in North Carolina
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Moral Monday: A Joint Statement by Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Methodist Leaders in North Carolina
Over 500 clergy and others have been arrested in North Carolina protests, and thousands have supported them. Tea Party, Southern Republicans are going too far in their attacks on the poor.

Editor's Note: The Republican Party now controls both the governor and legislature in North Carolina. The "base" of this party is the religious right under a revivalist theology which serves as a justification of corporate wealth with its anti-government rhetoric. The case of North Carolina has become especially interesting because it is serving to set up a strong contrast between the historic Protestant denominations (along with liberal Roman Catholics) and the religious right. Most of the media don't always see this distinction, but there is a huge difference in "public theology" among historic Protestants who define themselves from the Reformation heritage, and the religious right, which is a commercialized, Americanized, false form of Christian faith focused on the idea of this country as a "Christian nation". It is the historic Protestants who are leading the Moral Monday protests in North Carolina.

Remember that when Republican candidates with extremist religious commitments run for office they downplay the importance of religion. But in office their religious beliefs become central to how they govern. All over the country right now, for example, extreme laws are being passed concerning abortion. The U.S. House of Representatives just today passed a strict abortion bill. I myself believe the public is beginning to see the result of what it actually means to vote for religious and Tea Party Republicans, and they don't like it.

Here is the statement of North Carolina leaders of the Moral Monday protests:


As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it tome. - Matthew 25:4

We speak as bishops and Christian leaders in North Carolina about the moral issues highlighted by the Moral Monday events. Our call to speak grows out of these words that we prayed together at our meeting on June 6: “May we be amore vivid symbol of unity to allthe faithful. May the witness of ourlives proclaimthe Kingdomof God.”

As you may know, people have been gathering on Monday evenings to offer vigilant witness on moral issues being considered by our elected state officials. We share their concern for many of the issues they are bringing forth.

The Rev.Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Seminary (Charlotte) recently summarized the effect of pending and enacted legislation especially on the poor, the aging and children. "As you read this letter,the North Carolina General Assembly is passing bills that will remove 500,000 people from the Medicaid roles leaving them without health insurance; that wil lremove 170,000 people from unemployment when unemployment rates remain at historically high levels; that threaten to replace the graduated state income tax with a consumption tax that will adversely impact the poorest North Carolinians who will face increased prices on basic goods; that will force college students to return to their often distant homes to vote or cost their parents their $2,500 dependency deduction. These and many other bills will adversely impact those who can least afford it and therefore demand a fervent response from people of faith!"

Our concern about the legislative actions cited by Rev. Dr. Sadler is not an act of political partisanship. Rather it is a matter of faith with respect to our understanding of the biblical teachings and imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children and love our neighbors (Isaiah 10:1Ͳ2,Hebrews 13:2,James 1:27, Matthew 22:39,Galatians 5:14). We recognize and respect other Christian brothers and sisters who may seek to apply these biblical teachings in different ways and through different means.

We speak and act in love and through our understanding that our first citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, and we do so always as faithful citizens of the democratic process. We urge all Christians to witness to their faith in seeking justice and mercy for all.

The Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

The Reverend Dr. Leonard Bolick, Bishop, Synod of North Carolina, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Reverend Ted Churn, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of New Hope, Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, North Carolina Conference,United Methodist Church

Bishop Larry Goodpastor, WesternNorth Carolina Conference, United Methodist Church

The Right Reverend Alfred “Chip” Marble, Assisting Bishop, EpiscopalDiocese of North Carolina

The Reverend Anne Hodges-Copple, Bishop Suffragan-elect, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

The Right Reverend Porter Taylor, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina

The Reverend Betty Meadows, Transitional Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Charlotte, Presbyterian Church (USA)


Further Note: An interesting commentary on the Monday protests was presented in the Winston Salem paper:

What began as a series of politically partisan demonstrations organized and led by the North Carolina NAACP has now become something much larger. Monday June 10th’s demonstration will include demonstrators from a cross-section of North Carolina’s main-stream, Christian churches. In what to many may seem a throw back to the early days of progressive Christianity in America, mainstream churches from Methodist, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopal, and independents are going to come together to protest what they see as a political agenda that goes directly against their religious beliefs and the teachings of Jesus.

Students of history will remember that it was progressive Christianity that, in large part, lead to women’s suffrage, and end to child labor, “a” 40 hour work week, and many more policies 21st Century Americans enjoy. Now in North Carolina it seems that following years where many saw mainstream Christianity as being “hijacked” by the Republican Party, organized Christianity is now rising up ” remove -in North Carolina” and making a stand. While similar movements in other states such as Wisconsin were organized and energized by organized labor, the ascension of mainstream Christianity into a leadership role in this current struggle against what many see as extremism is unique.

To add to the unique narrative that is unfolding in North Carolina, State Sen. Thom Goolsby(R-dist91) has become the first Republican on record to call mainstream religious leaders “Morons” and to mock the vestments and trappings of Christianity in a head scratching op-ed that may have been an act of political suicide.

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Date Added: 6/18/2013 Date Revised: 6/18/2013 7:35:40 PM

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