Barber decries laws passed in the name of God

Barber decries laws passed in the name of God
September 04
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Dr. Barber greets those who listened to his sermon.)

“The Necessity of Moral Dissent in Times Like These” – the theme of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber’s message to Wake Forest University School of Divinity students – was apropos.

The Moral Monday movement Barber, the president of the N.C. NAACP, started has led to 1960s-style protests, complete with arrests and phalanxes of police, at the General Assembly in Raleigh and across the state.

As he delivered the Divinity School’s convocation message Tuesday in Wait Chapel, he told students to emulate Jesus by calling for change and battling the inequities of injustice and poverty.

“The true representation of the kind of deep love that Jesus calls us to make our burden, our calling, is to be mindful of the poor, weak and those on the sidelines of life,” Barber said. “True spirituality calls us to be suspicious of concentration of wealth, privilege and power, and to mistrust any ideological rationalism that justifies subordinating persons.”

Barber and his ‘Moral’ initiative have garnered international attention and equal parts praise and disdain. Soon after Republicans took control of both the General Assembly and Governor’s Mansion in January 2013, Barber began calling on people to come Raleigh to take a stand against laws he calls regressive. The voter identification requirement and cuts to education and health access for the poor are among the movement’s key concerns.

“I believe that deep within our beings there is a longing for a moral compass that needs to be reset,” Barber said. “We see this cynical, political agenda that is being pushed under the guise and cloak of religion and conservatism. We have to move to higher ground.”

Barber called out conservatives who hang much of their policies on their strong biblical principles. He called himself a “theological conservative” and said these politicians aren’t representing the God he knows and serves.

“I am a born and raised conservative. I take God seriously, and I love His word, which is to say I have deep struggles with those who tend to call themselves ultra conservatives today, those who say they are (the) religious right, especially when the liberally resist so much of God’s character. They say so much about what God says so little, and so little about what God says so much,” he said.

Barber’s address was also the inaugural event of the Mac Bryan Prophetic Preaching Series, which honors a late WFU religion professor who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. The series is designed to bring speakers and preachers to campus to inspire students to live and serve at the intersection of Christianity and social justice.

Gail R. O’Day

Gail R. O’Day

“This intersection of public life and religious life of what your faith means was important to Professor Bryan. He encouraged and supported his students and his colleagues in making hard choices and taking courageous stands,” said Divinity School Dean Gail R. O’Day. “His choices, and their choices, were not always popular but were always prophetic. Looking injustice in the face and calling all of us to accountability.”

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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