Several nationally known clergy led a discussion Monday night in Birmingham promoting a higher minimum wage, Medicaid expansion and expanding benefits and rights for the poor.

The takeaway for us of course, was that during this conversation one of the pastors mentioned LGBTQ rights as grouped with other minority groups needing equal treatment. The south does appear to be changing, one step at a time. 

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com 
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The religious service was broadcast nationally by live-stream video.

“People of faith, we can no longer be silent,” said the Rev. William Barber II, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., since 1993, president of Repairers of the Breach, and founder of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina.

“We believe that it’s a moral crisis when we no longer talk about poverty,” Barber said. “We think we need a refocusing on moral values.”

People of faith should be working to lift up the poor, care for the sick and establish justice, Barber said.

“In a country of immigrants, we have persons running against immigration, against LGBT people,” he said. “We’re calling on people of conscience to be engaged.”

The event held at New Pilgrim Baptist Church, 708 Goldwire Place S.W., was called The Revival, part of a series of meetings nationwide to discuss a moral approach to issues of political justice. It was the fourth stop on a 19-state national tour featuring Barber, Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus, the Rev. James Forbes, and the Rev. Traci Blackmon of Black Lives Matter as speakers.

Blackmon grew up in Birmingham in the 1960s and has worked as a minister on the front lines of protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and 2015, since the Aug. 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Police brutality and a criminal justice system that is unfair to minorities are also topics being discussed at the service, likely to last several hours.

A minister who serves on the Ferguson Commission returns home to Birmingham: Ferguson, Mo., mirrors 1960s Birmingham, she says

People who suffer because of government policies that hurt the poor discussed their experiences. “The people who will testify are real people,” Barber said in an interview before the event.

“Legislators in this state are averse to raising the living wage,” Barber said. “You got 62 million working for less than a living wage.  If people made a living wage, it would spur economic growth. People who work spend their money.”

Structured as a revival, with preaching and civil rights-era music, the service started at 6:30 p.m., was broadcast live, and ended after 9:30 p.m.

Several nationally known clergy led a discussion Monday night in Birmingham promoting a higher minimum wage, Medicaid expansion and expanding benefits and rights for the poor.

The takeaway for us of course, was that during this conversation one of the pastors mentioned LGBTQ rights as grouped with other minority groups needing equal treatment. The south does appear to be changing, one step at a time. 

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter

The religious service was broadcast nationally by live-stream video.

“People of faith, we can no longer be silent,” said the Rev. William Barber II, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., since 1993, president of Repairers of the Breach, and founder of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina.

“We believe that it’s a moral crisis when we no longer talk about poverty,” Barber said. “We think we need a refocusing on moral values.”

People of faith should be working to lift up the poor, care for the sick and establish justice, Barber said.

“In a country of immigrants, we have persons running against immigration, against LGBT people,” he said. “We’re calling on people of conscience to be engaged.”

The event held at New Pilgrim Baptist Church, 708 Goldwire Place S.W., was called The Revival, part of a series of meetings nationwide to discuss a moral approach to issues of political justice. It was the fourth stop on a 19-state national tour featuring Barber, Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus, the Rev. James Forbes, and the Rev. Traci Blackmon of Black Lives Matter as speakers.

Blackmon grew up in Birmingham in the 1960s and has worked as a minister on the front lines of protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and 2015, since the Aug. 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Police brutality and a criminal justice system that is unfair to minorities are also topics being discussed at the service, likely to last several hours.

A minister who serves on the Ferguson Commission returns home to Birmingham: Ferguson, Mo., mirrors 1960s Birmingham, she says

People who suffer because of government policies that hurt the poor discussed their experiences. “The people who will testify are real people,” Barber said in an interview before the event.

“Legislators in this state are averse to raising the living wage,” Barber said. “You got 62 million working for less than a living wage.  If people made a living wage, it would spur economic growth. People who work spend their money.”

Structured as a revival, with preaching and civil rights-era music, the service started at 6:30 p.m., was broadcast live, and ended after 9:30 p.m.

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