Our #MoralAgenda: Reviving the Soul of America
By Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson
Today, I took my place in the movement to revive the soul of America. In the morning of September 12, we joined the crowd that gathered at First Baptist in Raleigh, North Carolina—activists, preachers, rabbis, students, workers—to dream the dream forward as one of 31 cities across the country where folks like us engaged in a #MoralDayofAction.
We were there with the Rev. Dr. William Barber II to call America to conscience on the dignity of all of God’s children through policies to support income equality and a living wage, welcome to the stranger through just immigration, care for the earth our home, a redress of mass incarceration, an end to Islamophobia, and access to excellent public education for all.
We encircled the State Capital in silence, hearing the whispers of the ancestors and the blood of the departed crying out from the ground, as well as the voices of those in greatest need in our own time. They emboldened us to speak, to listen to testimony, and to sing together. Accompanied by the blowing of the Shofar, the prayers on the day of the celebration of Eid and a lone saxophone we began chanting in unison and marching to deliver our moral agenda to the Governor inside the State Capital.
We believe that the people have a place in the Governor’s House, but despite notification weeks before of our desire to deliver a document laying out our moral agenda, no one welcomed us or took our petition. In fact, a physical barrier had been recently erected beyond which we could not pass. We were directed to the Governor’s administrative offices some blocks away but even there we found no welcome—our previous written communications could not be found. And so we left requesting a meeting with Governor McCrory. “We who believe in freedom cannot rest….” You know the song!
Over the course of the day, voices from across every sector of our country were invited to witness to their particular passions for justice. That is the anti-elitist nature of this movement – that each of us is called to witness to the truth that we are all God’s beloved children. Asked to close out the day, I offered this blessing, this charge.
“May you go forth with courage not fear. May your heart, and hands and feet move to the rhythm of justice with love. And may the power of the Spirit bind us together in community both this day and in all the days ahead.”
May it be so.
Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson is President of Auburn Seminary. Which Voices leave you wanting to hear more? Email us ideas for interviews at [email protected]