Faith leaders from across the nation gathered online and in-person On Monday, April 5 to stand against the immorality of the filibuster and its racist history. 

Representing religions across the board, the faith leaders participated in the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Monday Program: Make Holy Trouble program that took place on the steps of National City Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and online. 

“It is time for the Senate to have an honest, open, floor debate on the issues of our day,” said Bishop William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. “We don’t need any more to have living wages blocked.  Healthcare to be blocked. And infrastructure that lifts from the bottom up to be blocked.  And money for public education to be blocked. And any, and those things that would make this democracy better. This is not about left or right.  It’s not about conservative versus liberal.  It is about right versus wrong. And so today, we commit to create holy trouble.  We’re gonna trouble the walls and trouble the Senate. We’re gonna trouble the senators.  We’re gonna call them. We’re gonna organize voters. “

While people best know that the Senate has used the filibuster to block civil rights legislation, the rule also has been used to block many more bills that would lift from the bottom, Bishop Barber said, including women’s suffrage, labor rights and the creation of a consumer protection agency. Now the threat of the filibuster hangs over $15/hour and voting rights. 

“We’re questioning the fairness and the justice of the filibuster,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “The fairness and the justice of being able to deny voting rights and living wages and expanded healthcare to people in a nation when the vast majority of people support these things, when we say we’re a nation that is built to pursue happiness and to defend this democracy and to give everybody a chance to thrive.  So we indeed also call this nation in this moment, in this holy season that we must make holy disruption, holy trouble, and we must make sure that everybody, everybody, everybody across this country has the right to live.  Has the right to thrive, has the right to be able to express their vote and be a part of this democracy.  And that we cannot do that with the filibuster intact.” 

The faith leaders also read a portion of a group statement that they will send to senators: 

“We recognize that our vote, our wages, our healthcare, our infrastructure, and our voice are being blocked by an immoral filibuster,” the statement reads in part. “And we are not the first generation to have fundamental human rights fall victim to this Jim Crow relic used by reactionary forces through history. The filibuster has been used to block civil rights, labor rights, voting rights, living wages, healthcare access, especially for poor and low-wealth Black, Brown, White, Asian and Indigenous people. The filibuster continues to facilitate idolatrous policy platforms about who deserves to thrive and who does not. The filibuster is being used to block our very democracy, and we join together to say, “DON’T FILIBUSTER DEMOCRACY!”

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