Activists ask: What makes a campaign, candidate 'moral'?
Posted September 12
Updated September 13
Raleigh, N.C. — About 200 people turned out Monday for a rally at the old State Capitol building to call on voters to help them "redefine morality" in politics.
The "Higher Ground Moral Day of Action," held in 31 state capitals Monday, is an extension of North Carolina's "Moral Monday" marches, which date to 2013 as a protest against actions of the state's Republican-led legislature.
The left-leaning group, coordinated by North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber II and four other prominent preachers, argues in their "Higher Ground Moral Declaration" that issues of social justice should be important to voters as they consider their choices in November.
"We are making a declaration and calling on all people of conscience who believe in these deep moral values to exercise their right to vote at the polls in November and beyond," Barber told a crowd that included educators, civil rights and voting rights groups, organized labor, environmental and anti-war activists.
"A true moral agenda raises these questions: How do your policies treat the poor? How do your policies treat those on the margins? How do your policies treat the least of these? How do your policies treat women? How do your policies treat children? How do your policies treat workers?" Barber said.
Speakers urged voters to favor candidates who will battle poverty, lack of health care, the treatment of immigrants and those on the margins of society.
"We are challenging the fallacies and the theological malpractice of the so-called 'religious right,'" Barber said. "We are challenging those who claim to be evangelicals.
"We are declaring that it is not religiously right when you declare that the only moral issues are where people stand on prayer in public schools and where they stand on homosexuality and where they stand on a woman's right to choose. We declare that there is much higher ground," he said.
Video from Monday's rally provided by the organizers