Did you know that thousands of people die every year from anti-poor policies, while an extremist religious and Christian nationalist agenda deliberately diverts attention from the key issues and challenges facing the majority of Americans?
In the history of this country, moral justifications have been offered for the genocide and forced removal of indigenous people from their lands, slavery, resisting the Brown v. Board of Education school segregation case and opposing the Roe v. Wade abortion case. Today, religious extremists focus on issues like prayer in school, abortion, and gun rights that distort the national moral narrative.
This distorted narrative became integral to the well-funded libertarian movement to redefine “liberty” as freedom from government. In 2016, Franklin Graham invested $10 million of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s money in his 2016 Decision America Tour to each state house in the country. Billed as “nonpartisan” prayer rallies, these gatherings framed the “moral crisis” as a decision between progressive atheist values and God. After the election, Graham called Trump’s victory an answer to prayer.
Today these influences — the Christian and religious nationalist organizations, religious capitalist and prosperity gospel movements, and independent charismatics — have access to the current administration in the form of its “court evangelicals.” The Values Voter Summit has become an important focus point for this coalition and its narrative. Through federal contracts and student aid, Liberty University has become the largest private Christian university in the country.
These influences have also ignored the moral commitments enshrined in the U.S. Constitution to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and Posterity.” These commitments should help ensure that this country moves toward the more perfect Union aspired to in our founding documents.
Indeed, there are profound consequences to a moral narrative that ignores poverty, healthcare, decent jobs, and other crises facing the poor today. An estimated 10,000 people will die every year from the provision in the new federal tax bill that will take away the healthcareof 13 million people. Thousands have died every year because of some states’ decision to deny Medicaid expansion benefits. Overall, more than 250,000 people die in the United States from poverty and related issues every year.
The truth is that a morality that claims to care for the souls of people while destroying their bodies and communities is deeply immoral.
We have the right to ground our public policies and budget allocations in a moral narrative that prioritizes and follows our deepest religious and Constitutional moral commitments to justice.
We demand that all policies and budgets are based on the five key principles of the U.S. Constitution: Establishing Justice, Ensuring Domestic Tranquility, Providing for the Common Defense, Promoting the General Welfare and Securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.