Episcopalians join the Poor People’s Campaign rally, march on Washington

By Lynette Wilson
Posted Jun 25, 2018

Members of Washington National Cathedral attend the June 23 Poor People’s Campaign rally at the National Mall. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Washington, D.C.] Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a Poor People’s Campaign. As part of that campaign, during an April 1968 trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of African-American sanitation workers striking for higher wages, King was shot dead. Today, a new Poor People’s Campaign is under way and Episcopalians are getting involved.

“Today you are the founding members of the 21st century’s ‘Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.’ We gather today for a call to action. We gather here declaring it’s time for a moral uprising all across America,” said the Rev. William Barber on June 23. He co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, along with the Rev. Liz Theoharis.

“This is not the commemoration of what happened 50 years ago; this is the reenactment and the re-inauguration,” Barber said. “Because you do not commemorate prophets and prophetic movements. You go in the blood where they fell and reach down and pick up the baton and carry it the next mile of the way. For three years we’ve been laying a foundation from the bottom up, not the top down.”

King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized the original Poor People’s Campaign, demanding economic and human rights for poor people across America.

The Rev. William Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis are co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Barber, a minister and an activist, led the Moral Mondays campaign in North Carolina and is the president of Repairers of the Breach, a nonprofit that seeks to build a moral agenda and redeem the heart and soul of the United States. Theoharis, a Presbyterian minister, is founder and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and coordinator of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary.

Thousands of people, including at least 100 Episcopalians, from across the country representing social justice organizations, churches and faith-based initiatives gathered on June 23 in Washington, D.C., for the Poor People’s Campaign rally and march. For three-and-a-half hours on the National Mall, speakers — the majority of them living on the front lines of poverty — shared their personal stories relating to systemic racism, environmental degradation and other poverty indicators. Following the rally, attendees took to the street and marched to the Capitol chanting slogans like, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” and “The People United Will Not Be Divided.”

The rally and march in Washington followed 40 days of state-level action organized around six themes: systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and national morality.

The rally and march also followed an intense week of news coverage about U.S. immigration policy. Since early April, the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy has been separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration’s family separation policy and the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the border have drawn international condemnation and have further tarnished the United States’ reputation abroad.

“America is great because she is good,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, referencing Alexis de Tocqueville in a video address broadcast on the big screen to the crowd gathered on the mall.

“We must make America great again, not by force, not by power, not by might, but by goodness. Make America great by justice, make America great by freedom, make America great by equality. The Poor People’s Campaign doesn’t simply celebrate the past, though it remembers the past. It remembers the courage of Dr. King and others who carried on the first Poor People’s Campaign,” said Curry.

“The Poor People’s Campaign gathers in order to help this nation live out its true values, its moral decency, its human compassion, its sense of justice and right. We want this nation to be a nation where there is liberty and justice for all. We want this to be a nation where racism does not stain our moral character, where bigotry is not heard of or seen any more in our land. Where injustices of the past are righted by making a new future. That is the America that we seek. That is why you gather. That is why you march. That is why we together seek to bring an end to human poverty in this the land of plenty. We must make possible the day that will come when no child will go to bed hungry in this land ever again.”

In today’s America, 43.1 million people, or 12.7 percent of the population, live in poverty. That statistic matches the percentage of impoverished people in 1968, when the population was 200 million, compared to 327 million today.

The Rev. Melanie Mullen, the Episcopal Church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care, and the Rev. Stan Runnels, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City and an Executive Council member, prepare to march to the Capitol on June 23. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“The Episcopal Church was the second denomination to officially sign on as co-sponsors of the Poor People’s Campaign, and this is probably the first time our denomination has done that. It came through the act of Executive Council written in that the church leadership would lead the church in this deliberate and productive partnership so not just in name only, but we would bring people to the movement and we’d bring the issues back into the church,” said the Rev. Melanie Mullen, the church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care.

Episcopalians, lay and ordained, engaged in direct action in their state capitals throughout the 40 days of action, but the Poor People’s Campaign goes beyond that.

“This is not just about 40 days and it’s over. We want to be able to encourage and educate our laypeople, our people in the pews, on how to live faith in public life,” said Mullen. “We also want to create a new paradigm for what it means to be clergy; that it’s safe and acceptable to do public faith and to learn from each other’s example — how to teach, how to preach, lead people in the streets. We’re doing something new and hopefully with the support of Executive Council going forward, we can help do culture change in our church that will help change the country.”

When King launched the original Poor People’s Campaign a half century ago, the Episcopal Church and the other white mainline denominations politely declined participation, said the Rev. Stan Runnels, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City and an Executive Council member.

The Rev. Stan Runnels, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City and an Executive Council member, the Rev. Hershey Mallette Stephens, project coordinator for the Church Center’s Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care department, and Katelyn Kenney, the United Thank Offering Julia Chester Emery intern, march to the Capitol on June 23 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“The important thing about this, when the Rev. Dr. Barber revisited this on the 50th anniversary, to me and many, is that the Episcopal Church not make the same mistake it made many years ago,” said Runnels, in an interview with Episcopal News Service following Morning Prayer at Church of the Epiphany.

Over the years, the Episcopal Church has been great about “talking the talk,” but has failed to embody the moral calling and to be an incarnate witness, said Runnels. “As Bishop Curry talks about the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, it also has to be the justice movement.”

In creating a strategy for a new Poor People’s Campaign, Barber and other leaders recognized that justice issues have only expanded and gotten worse since 1968, he said.

“With a great bit of courage and foresight, the leadership of this new Poor People’s Campaign has broadened the scope of issues addressed. … It’s become sort of a holistic expression of all the issues that affect people, each of which in one way or the other, connects to the underlying problem of poverty,” said Runnels.

“Where in ’68 it was clear that racism translated into poverty for one component of the population, the African-American component, in 2018 the issues of poverty are impacting a much broader cross-section and are manifested in many, many different ways. The exciting thing about this campaign is its polymorphic nature, it’s engaging so many different issues.”

Episcopalians gathered not far from the White House at 8:30 a.m. on June 23 at the Church of the Epiphany, for Morning Prayer and to share their thoughts and experiences from the 40 days of action in advance of the rally and march.

“This movement is a long-term campaign, not a one and done,” said the Rev. Glenna J. Huber, Epiphany’s rector, during the Morning Prayer. “It’s not for the weak or the fainthearted. Not all are called to be arrested or take action, but all are called to pray, and all are called to witness.”

— Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of Episcopal News Service.


Comments (28)

  1. Dr. Jan Hamilton says:

    YES, we are standing for equality and justice for all in Washington, DC. and throughout the world.

  2. Ronald Davin says:

    How are your views different from Karl Mark’s and do they seperate from the Communist Manifesto ?

  3. Larry Waters says:

    Sadly, the EC has turned into a left-wing propaganda machine. And while the EC says it advocates equality for all, I can think of one group that the EC blames for all the world’s ills. Perhaps if our “church group” concentrated on being the EC of my parents, we would not be witnessing the continued decline in membership that afflicts our church group.

    1. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

      Larry Waters and Ronald Davin – I am sorry to read your comments, because they are irrelevant and make no sense. You make assumptions that cannot possibly be followed up with logical conclusions. You think the EC has turned into a a communist manifesto or a left-wing propaganda machine, when in fact, The current Episcopal Church as The Jesus Movement, Progressive Christianity appears to be left-wing, because Jesus was left wing, concerned with all the “liberal” ideas and theology about social justice, that the Churches have allowed to be clouded over by “religion.” I suggest you study up on the Episcopal Church in America, and have a more positive attitude toward liberal/progressive positions on what “the Church” ought to be and which position the Episcopal Church is now assuming.

  4. John Hobart says:

    Jesus is neither “right” nor “left.” Those of you who have chosen to worship the political gods of the republicans and democrats are simply worshipping idols.

    1. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

      John Hobart: Do you offer any evidence that Jesus is nether right nor left, or that Jesus was apolitical? I would like to know how you describe Jesus? Liberal? Conservative? Feminist? Radical? Just curious.

      1. John Hobart says:

        There is no evidence (except perhaps in the minds of the hyper-partisan) that Jesus held right or left wing political opinions (or any political opinions at all), therefore you cannot predicate either adjective of Jesus. As to your list of labels, I would choose “none of the above.” If you can’t live without labels, try “transcendent.”

  5. Bill Louis says:

    Marlene, rather than argue Jesus’ political leanings how about some specifics. Aside from marching its not clear what you are looking for. What are your specific goals? Social justice is such an ambiguous term. When someone asks the marchers why they are marching most spew out at talking point like “social justice”, end to racism, equality in pay, never any solutions or ideas on how to accomplish those goals. In reality, the EC is politically biased. Covering it up with quotes from the Bible and surmising what Jesus would do is just a diversion from reality.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      That’s because the goal of protests is usually to shine a spotlight on an issue, not necessarily to push for specific solutions. Specific solutions to social justice are usually proposed by lawmakers in response to protests highlighting an issue. The problem is that certain political groups oppose those solutions and then, usually, deny the problems even exist rather than suggest alternative solutions. It is not political bias for TEC to be marching in advocacy for the poor or any other social justice issue, as the Bible makes social justice a central focus of the gospel (I’d quote specific examples, but apparently you think listening to Scripture is just a diversion).

  6. Bill Louis says:

    Matt, I thought lawmakers are elected to be representatives of the people. Then shouldn’t they be carrying out the will of the people? I see the EC calling for Episcopalians to contact their representative put never with what they would like them to do about a specific issue, just fix it. We have a Constitutional Republic in the US not a monarchy though some would like us all to belive that. We elect representives to carry out “the will of the people” so should we be telling them what WE would like them to do? In case you are wondering, I read Scripture and listen as well but I don’t try to use it to interpret or prove my political view points.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      Wait, you never use Scripture to inform your politics? Isn’t our faith supposed to inform our lives? Why shouldn’t our faith also inform our political decisions? And one reason why TEC usually endorses goals over specific solutions is that there are often multiple ways to accomplish a goal (e.g. universal health care, reducing poverty, combating racism, etc.). Also, there are many people who do not think these issues are problems, or think that our government cannot do anything to solve them. That is why TEC is joining other faith groups to shine a spotlight on these issues.

  7. Larry Waters says:

    Wow, Dr. Talbott-Green, an irrelevant opinion? And making assumptions- that is exactly what you are doing Dr. T-G when labeling Jesus “left wing”. And you offer no evidence either Dr . T-G as to Jesus’ leanings. And so far as making “logical conclusions”, I could find folks who come to the same conclusions about the EC’s leftist leanings [read some posts in this forum] and look at the declining membership in the EC if you want to see where the EC is headed. As I posted to a like minded [to you] person, I think that our nation is much too divided and in fact broken to remain “united”. And I “suggest”, to paraphrase you, that rather than attacking me, you might offer realistic solutions to the myriad problems that the EC and our nation face.

    1. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

      Larry Waters: I’m sorry you feel under attack by me. I thought I was just posting an opinion and trying to be clear about my goalsand offering realistic solutions that you request. Perhaps if you will read my extensive comments to Bill Louis about the Episcopal Church’s and Jesus’ “leftist leanings” it will clarify my “evidence,” which I would rather call my point of view. In any case, there is no necessary connection between the EC’s “leftist or Liberal leanings,” and the declining membership in the church. Membership is declining in all churches and other religious bodies. Perhaps it is good that membership is declining in the EC, if it is declining because people no longer believe in the clear values of the Gospel, and want rather to talk about who’s going to pay for them.

  8. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

    Matt Quellette: I agree with what you have said here, thanks.

    Bill Louis: Yes, lawmakers are representatives of the will of the people, but when they are not carrying out the will of the people, or when their election has been compromised and corrupted, the people have to step in and correct the situation. What will of the people are you talking about? The evangelicals? The right wing misguided and hateful fundamentalists? Who? The EC is made of people who, we assume, have a collective voice in these cases of social justice. I think the picture here showing the women holding a plaque that says “Starving a child is violence,” for example, both clarifies something about violence that not all people might associate with violence (starving the children), and recommends an action to be taken by the church, community, or society – feed starving children! That is a pretty plain goal. Many of “The people” utilize the Affordable Health Care Act, which too many of our representatives do not want poor people to have. Heal the sick! That is pretty straight forward in terms of what the EC would like reps to do about providing health care for all. The people, in this case, Episcopalians, believe we should show compassion on those in prison – visit them! Also, clean up the prison systems here, especially those which house many more people of color then white people, and whose sentences do not fit the crime – get them out of prison, when they are not a danger to the community. Mete out just punishments or corrections for those unjustly imprisoned. Save the children from violence – Protest for gun control! Give the people a part in the social justice system – Hear the complaints of people who have been denied justice, such as women who have a right to equal pay, LGBT persons, who have a right to love whom they want to love without oppression or penalty for being who they are as God’s creations, people of color abused by police, even killed, when they are not committing any crime, for women who have a Constitutional right to reproductive freedom – stop making laws that want to deny birth control and abortion for any reason, when we live in a society where the maternal death rate is higher than many other countries, and the fetal death rate within the first year of birth is also higher. Care for the orphans! Children are the poorest segment of our society! Women are the largest segment of poor people in their old age. Most are widowed and have little money to exist – Take care of the Widows! March with the Women’s March, March for the Poor People’s campaign, try to give your reps a sense of values and direction with these protests. Try to get your reps to expand Social Security, so the elderly don’t have to choose between food and pharmaceuticals – their medicine and general health care. Support Medicaid and Medicare! Expand Medicaid so the poor can have health insurance and care! Support Planned Parenthood, which gives a variety of health care measures to uninsured women. We are in a government now, which wants to deny all human rights to the refugees seeking asylum, take away their children to teach them a lesson – don’t come here! It is in the Bible that we should care for the strangers in our midst, and it is written on the entrance to the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores – SEND THESE, THE HOMELESS HELPLESS TOSSED TO ME!” There are so many, many examples of who should do what for whom, so I don’t see why it is so difficult for you to see what my goals are – they’re the same as our Episcopal Church’s goals, and our recommendations for action are the same! When you are an Episcopalian, social justice is NOT an ambiguous term. The Episcopal church is biased, if you will, not politically, but toward those that Jesus said we should be serving. I hope this clarifies what my goals are. I am a straight, white, unarmed old woman, a grandmother, never in trouble with the law, and I am not poor – so don’t think I am making excuses on a personal basis for what the Episcopal Church does for our world. I am proud of our church and it’s commitment to “social justice.”

  9. Bill Louis says:

    Matt, You either twisted or misunderstood my words regarding Scripture as a sole guide for my political decisions. There are many ways to interpret a passage of Scripture. You may interpret one and I another so I don’t use Scripture as the basis for my argument. If you see that as un-christian or wrong then that’s your opinion. Given your posts on this and other articles I am convinced we will never agree on much that the church does politically.

    Dr Green, From your post I believe you would be happy with a socialist government, a huge bureaucracy to direct every facet of our lives from cradle to grave. Who would pay for all those programs you mention? Big corporations and the rich? That’s really unrealistic. Look at Venezuela. To state goals is one thing. To offer solutions is another more difficult thing to do. How do you propose we pay for all of the issues you mention? More taxes? How does that help the poor? That is my point.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I apologize if I misunderstood your approach to faith and politics, it’s just that I don’t understand what you want the church to do. Should we just stay out of politics in general? That, to me, doesn’t seem like the right approach as Christians. Or should the church be more specific in its policy goals, as you have suggested in previous posts? If so, the problem with that is when specifics are raised, the church is often criticized as leftist or partisan, so it seems like a no-win situation. I’m just trying to understand where you are coming from.

  10. Bill Louis says:

    Matt, You ask a fair question. I see belonging to the EC as a catch 22 of sorts. I attend a small church in the suburbs of PA. So far, our rector has not pushed politics in sermons or during the worship service. There are many different political beliefs in our congregation but we respect each other’s opinion. We don’t talk or argue about it in church. We address hunger, homelessness and poverty in our community and open our doors to all. I find our church to be a happy place. If we have a political beef we pursue it outside with others that feel the same way.
    Beyond my church is the Diocese where politics raises its ugly head. The Diocese professes to represent us all but it does not. All of us have different political opinions and we may not agree with that of the EC but we still must pay to support its political lobbying. To simplify, would you financially support a club or organization that promotes behaviors or ideas that you don’t believe in? Thats the way I feel about the higher EC and the political bias it promotes. The catch 22 for me is I can’t leave my church. I love my church family. We should all feel the same way about each other but here we are on the ENS arguing with each other about political matters. I blame the EC for that.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I agree that TEC (or any church) should be careful aligning itself to political parties or secular ideologies. We serve Jesus, not a political party or ideology. However, I think there are times where our allegiance to Jesus requires us to speak out against various injustices in our societies, and sometimes that may involve criticizing our own political parties, institutions, or governments. For Democrats and progressives, for examples, that might mean calling out dehumanizing rhetoric on abortion (the fetus is not a clump of cells). For Republicans and conservatives, that might mean calling out dehumanizing rhetoric on immigration (immigrants are not all rapists and criminals). For both sides, that might mean calling out the parties’ allegiance to big money donors and special interests over people. I think TEC does a good job calling attention to injustices, but it can always do better.

  11. Terry Francis says:

    Marlene, I don’t even know where to begin. Matt, I’ve already dealt with your opinions in pass emails so I’ll reply to you another time. Marlene, you and people like you are the reason this country has become so hopelessly divided and polarized. You have no ability to even comprehend that there are people of good will out there that, God forbid, disagree with you on issues. Progressives like you do not have a monopoly on compassion. You do not have a monopoly on intellect. You do not have a monopoly on love! Having a PhD doesn’t make you superior to other people, certainly not in the eyes of God. So fundamentalists are misguided and hateful? According to who dear lady? Progressives like yourself? Talk about being judgemental of others! Not a very Christian way to look at people you disagree with. For the record I am not a fundamentalist nor do I have any desire to be one, but I know people who are. They are good people of faith and just because their interpretation of the Gospel differs from yours doesn’t make them inferior you. TEC does NOT have a collected voice in the case of anything. If it did it would show at least some interest in the opinions of its conservative members. With few exceptions it doesn’t. You claim Christian love for all people. What a shame the unborn doesn’t fall into your category of who to care for! You, and Matt too for that matter, can use all the intellectual rhetoric you want to deny the obvious. The obvious being that TEC, as Larry Waters said earlier, IS blatantly leftward leaning. It is a denomination where many of its members, as well as many of the clergy, feel more comfortable with a protest sign or a bullhorn in their hands than a Bible. I will just bet you Marlene that our Lord and Savior doesn’t love you one iota more than those people you denounce (ie Republicans, pro life people, NRA members, those evil fundamentalists, etc) Here’s an idea Marlene – why don’t you seek out and actually sit down and talk to one of these folks. You might find out they’re actually human beings just like you. Unless you think doing that is beneath you as well.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      You seem to be quite judgmental of progressives yourself while accusing us of being judgmental. You claim that progressives view themselves as superior to conservatives and have a monopoly on compassion, and I’m pretty sure none of us have said that. What we have done is criticized certain positions that we view as un-Christian (e.g. separating children from their parents) which have also been called out by other faith groups (e.g. the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Southern Baptist Convention) as well as other principled conservatives (e.g. Steve Schmidt, Jennifer Rubin). While I disagree with conservatives on the effectiveness of most of their policy ideas, I don’t think they are any less loved by God or devoid of His grace, and I’m sure most of them are sincere in their conviction that their policies are the most helpful. I would hope you would feel the same way about progressive people of faith such as myself and Marlene.

    2. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

      Terry Francis: You seem to be saying that you have “dealt with opinions,” rather than try to have a dialogue with me. I am amazed to find that you think I “am the reason this country is so hopelessly divided and polarized.” I had no idea I had so much power. I don’t see us as so entirely divided and polarized, although it is clear that racism, sexism, misogyny, Xenophobia, social injustice, and the idea that some people are entitled to be superior to others have absolutely divided/polarized us. I wish it were all up to me.

      I see that you have the inevitable Conservative distaste for people with higher education. I always wonder why it is that I should be ashamed that I have earned a PhD in no matter what. Please don’t call me dear lady, when you know you don’t mean it? This isn’t a contest about who God loves more – God has enough love for everybody. Talking about my making assumptions – you assume I don’t know fundamentalists, extremists, Conservatives, etc. but I don’t know why you would assume that, since you don’t know me at all, yet you judge me sharply. In all my 84 years, I have gotten to know many kinds of people, some of them Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Native Americans, atheists, Buddhists, even Southern Baptists, fundamentalists, etc., learning about what they believe and how they behave. I even married a Quaker. From childhood, my father required in-depth bible study, so I don’t mind if somebody challenges my particular understanding of it. I can respect people I don’t agree with, but I am not to emulate their behavior, nor advocate it for anybody., nor especially not make laws on the basis of their beliefs about a particular thing.

      I just want to say a little bit about being judgmental. There is a difference between being judgmental and making sound judgments based on some criteria or set of values. I have one set of values for myself – Jesus’ life and personhood. So, let me just remind you of some judgments Jesus made about some folks in his time: “Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Teachers of the Law, you hypocrites – you shut the door of the kingdom in people’s faces, and you yourselves do not enter, nor let others enter, who are trying to. You can respect people like these, but don’t emulate them – they are blind guides and fools! They diligently pay their tithes, and neglect to actually care for the people. They lead their converts to be twice as much the children of Hell as the Scribes and Pharisees. (Yes, He went there.) They are greedy and self-indulgent, like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”

      Now that is not the end of the “Woe unto” list, Jesus overturned the money changers’ tables in the Temple, saying that the Temple had become a “den of thieves,” and made other accusations (judgments) with many more ” Woe unto” statements. Jesus’ words were sometimes very harsh, and some of them even got him killed, because he challenged the unjust political powers of his day.

      I think Jesus’ words were so harsh, because so much was at stake. I think Progressive Christians, Episcopalians, understand this, and so are willing and eager to stand up for what they understand. I think many people have no idea what dangerous times we live in, what is at stake when we pay no attention to calls to change the unjust socio-political order we are in, like no time in our history, since perhaps the Civil War. And the danger now is global. Maybe that’s why my words seem so hopelessly divisive and polarizing to you, because I, and Progressives like me, see so much is at stake. Important Biblical scholars and Progressives have tried to show the dangerous connection between ultra conservatism in politics and in the Church, and the perils that will befall us, if we don’t DO SOMETHING to stop them. We are supposed to bring in the Kingdom of God on Earth. Does it look to you that our country is headed in that direction the way we are going? If we aren’t moving in that direction, if we are shutting the door to the Kingdom in other people’s faces, perhaps we should try to discern what truly is at stake and make better judgments.

  12. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

    Matt Quellette: I think you understand the progressive movement of the Episcopal Church and have framed it very well here. You are much more articulate than I and with fewer words. Thank you for your witness. We don’t want to be judgmental, but there are judgments we have to make in our lives, sometimes with little guidance. We know that, while we may not love everybody in a warm and fuzzy way, we must nevertheless treat others in a loving manner, in a compassionate way. I am not a bible thumper, nor a biblical scholar, but it doesn’t take either of those approaches to see that Jesus does give guidance on how we are to treat others – as we would want to be treated ourselves. The guidelines are clear, uncomplicated – “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” I think that is what the EC is talking about – what Jesus would do, as corny and unsophisticated as some people would have us believe. God does love everybody, and that includes many people we think of as unlovable, and so we are obligated to treat everybody in a fair, loving and just manner. It’s pretty simple, and thank you, Mr. Quellette for being so articulate.

    1. Robert Wichmann says:

      I hope I’m not too late to add a comment.As regards Jesus’ world, it consisted of Galilee, Judea, and Samaria. His enemies were the Roman military occupation and the religious Jewish hierarchy. To the Romans he wasn’t apolitical, he was a revolutionary, so the Romans crucified him. To the Religious Establishment he could be considered a conservative because he wished to return to the true meaning of the Torah, as taught by the Beatitudes. As a liberal he wished to change the beliefs of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Our situation in the United States today is entirely different. We are neither occupied by a foreign power, nor lorded over by a powerful religious hierarchy, so I believe that the Bible can be used only to prove that Jesus taught the Golden Rule. We should respect and love each other, Republicans and Democrats, and require that the Congress and President Trump work together to change our laws to reflect the current situation and provide affordable solutions to poverty, however difficult that may be. Samaritans were the “others” to be loved as demonstrated by the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Samaritan woman at the well. (The latter tales care of feminism too.)

      1. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

        Robert Wichmann: Thank you for supplying some of the “evidence” John Hobart asked for. I don’t understand why people say “there is no evidence for. . .” when there is, and it doesn’t take long these days with our technology to find evidence for anything. I am acutely aware that no amount of evidence is going to satisfy people who will not hear or see evidence. There appears to be no rational process to get from there to here. I have a job and I can’t devote so much time to these comments as I have been, so I appreciate your testimony as to what you said about Jesus’ world and the Golden Rule. I believe Jesus pretty much summarized the same way: “Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV – “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest. Jesus answered: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your might and love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. … “We don’t need labels to talk about the Lord. “My yoke is easy, My burden is light.”

  13. Mary Barrett says:

    Wow, guys, everyone just go spend some time with the New Testament and chill out.

  14. Terry Francis says:

    This is in response to Marlene AND Matt. Marlene, you said Jesus’ life and personhood is the one set of values you have for yourself. That is what any true Christian would say whatever their political views, but you and Matt seem convinced that only the progressive interpretation of the Gospel is legitimate. Why,dear lady(and yes I will call you dear lady because I hold no animosity toward you) would you say I have an “inevitable” distaste for higher education? I have two degrees of my own so I can assure you I have nothing against higher education. I am well aware of the “Woe unto” quotes from Jesus and I take them seriously. But let me remind you of the more familiar quote “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. You and Matt have both been throwing a lot of stones at conservatives in your commentaries! If ultra conservatism in politics and the Church is a danger, surely extreme liberalism is a threat as well. And yes Matt I know progressives like you and Marlene are sincere in their beliefs, but I will never agree with them just as you will never agree with mine. I’m going to leave it at that and end this debate. God bless you both.

    1. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

      Terry Francis: I am not debating, I am stating my own opinion about what I think the Episcopal Church is doing about the Poor People’s march, etc., of which I approve. If vigorous disagreement is “throwing stones at Conservatives,” I would say nobody is trying to convict you or any ultraconservative of sin. Not my place. However, that we can state our opinions without condemning others. I just want to clarify my values that are aligned with those values that the Episcopal Church espouses, along with those of the Poor People’s Campaign, and the Rev. Dr. William Barber’s Repairers of the Breech, which are, after all, the subject and the basis for any of these comments. You want to call me dear lady. We aren’t acquainted. I wouldn’t deign to call you sweetheart or honey. God loves us everyone, I am not God, so although I accept people who disagree with me, I am under no obligation to emulate them. We can work to change opinions. I’m not even trying to do that. I am just trying to express myself. I think it might be better if I just Tweet.

  15. Terry Francis says:

    Calling you “dear lady” was my way of showing you respect in spite of our differences. I would hardly put that in the same category as sweetheart or honey. But if it offended you that much then I appologize. Final point – I consider myself simply a conservative, not an ultraconservative.

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