It was no secret that the Rev. Dr. William Barber and other religious leaders were going to stage an interfaith march on the White House this Wednesday, an act of resistance to the Trump administration. Barber had announced it on Politics Done Right and Democracy Now! and through a few other media outlets.
In his interview and announcement on Politics Done Right, Dr. Barber said that march leaders and attendees intended to “stand up to what we see as immoral activity breaking with both covenants, our constitutional covenant and the covenant with our deepest religious values.” He went on to call out Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, and others “who have decided to hijack religion and try to use it in the way that endorses President Trump and his administration.”
Barber pointed out that Trump’s policies violate the core values of Jesus, which include taking care of the poor, the least among us, and the immigrant. He said that that was the reason the organizations involved in the march had concluded that they must issue what he called a “prophetic indictment” and a “moral impeachment” of the president.
Successful act of resistance
The march occurred and it was very well-reported by Common Dreams.
Hundreds of interfaith leaders stood ready to face arrest outside the White House on Wednesday where they delivered a “moral indictment to an immoral administration.”
The march and rally, dubbed Moral Witness Wednesday, was organized to denounce the President Donald Trump administration’s cruel and unjust policies including the detaining of migrant children and attacks on healthcare access. Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center, initially conceived of the action, organizations say.
In a tweet ahead of the protest, Barber, who’s also president of social justice group Repairers of the Breach and a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, explained the motivation for the action: “Jeremiah 22 tells us that when political leaders abuse their office & hurt the poor, we must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment. Now is the time. Join us June 12.”
Other religious leaders taking part include Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign; Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Ameer/president of The Muslim Alliance in North America; and Rabbi Esther Lederman, director of Communities of Practice and Congregational Innovation for the Union of Reform Judaism.
When Franklin Graham decided to have a day of prayer for President Trump, major media outlets made a big hoopla about it. Did Barber’s virtual impeachment rally get commensurate attention? Of course not.
Barber pointed out that when Graham claimed he had a letter signed by 250 clergy members exalting prayers for Trump, it was considered a significant mainstream media story. Barber added that his march had over 5,000 signatures and that it included religions of every stripe. There has been no commensurate coverage. The impeachment march getting 20 times more signatures was not enough to ensure it got the kind of coverage that pro-Trump preachers got.
Barber challenged the media about its coverage of the actual event. Judging from the current coverage, they’ve failed. Irrespective of that failure, the event was successful. Common Dreams reported:
At the gates of the White House, the activists delivered signed petitions, which state, in part:
As President Trump and his administration let the nation suffer, we must lead with a unified proactive and creative response that is not confined by “Right” or “Left,” Democrat or Republican, but is rooted in the clear moral Center of right and wrong. It is time to warn the nation and call this administration to repent of their sins.
Friends, it is time for us to go together to the palace gates with a clarion call:
*Stop the weaponization of judicial appointments! Attend to the 14th Amendment, the bedrock of equal protection under the law. Uphold the constitution.
*Stop mandating a census question designed to ensure millions are uncounted! Attend to the 140 million poor and low wealth.
*Stop the abuse of executive power to pollute our communities with pipelines and privatizing public resources! Attend to our water and air.
*Stop the assault on the Affordable Care Act and on healthcare for women and children in poverty! Attend to the health of your people.
*Stop the brutal treatment of the stranger at the southern border! Stop warehousing children in detention camps! End child detention. Attend to compassionate and humane immigration policies that affirm the divinity within all human beings.
Instead of covenantal leadership for justice, compassion, healing, and the empowerment of all, these sinful acts of the current administration pursue subjugation: subjugation of racial, religious, ethnic, and gender minorities; of women; of children; of the suffocating middle class, workers, family farmers, the poor, and people who fall sick; of immigrants and refugees; of the free press; of the Constitution; even of Earth, our common home. This hate-filled subjugation violates the Covenant. It must not stand.
It is this type of one-sided coverage that gave us Trump. It is not only that Trump got north of $2 billion of free media coverage, but it is also the rampant disregard of those with opposing views or those calling out the president for his bad deeds. Moreover, the media tend to treat his minute lapses into acting mildly presidential as monumental events.
One hopes that, as the election season matures, the mainstream media will make an attempt to change the focus of their coverage. Otherwise, their complicity and dereliction of duty could give Trump a second term.