Category: Articles

The Republican tax bill is not just immoral. It is an act of violence

The Guardian
By Rev. Dr William J. Barber, II and Rev. Dr Liz Theoharis
December 1, 2017

Donald Trump and leaders in Congress are on the verge of enacting one of the most immoral pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. The Republican party has billed its plan as a tax cut for America’s middle class, but it is in fact an act of gross violence against America’s poor to serve the country’s richest and most powerful.

The claim of the cuts is scarcity. But we do not have scarcity of money; we have a scarcity of moral will. We have an abundance of resources that could end poverty for everyone.

Extremist leaders are proposing to give billions in tax breaks to the wealthy, and to pay for it by raising taxes and cutting life-saving services for poor people, working poor people and the most vulnerable among us.

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Trumpvangelicals are using faith to bring us to the brink of nuclear war

Think Progress
By Rev Dr. William J. Barber, II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
August 11, 2017

When the Rev. Robert Jeffress declared this week that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un,” many who grew up in Sunday School struggled to square the teaching of the president’s favorite pastor with the words of Jesus. How could the One who taught “love your enemies” be understood to endorse nuclear holocaust? Jeffress thinks his declaration is self-evident, which only highlights the fact that religious extremism could destroy the world as we know it. Long accused of extremism themselves, our Muslim neighbors are right to ask, who radicalized Rev. Jeffress and his fellow Trumpvangelicals?

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Jesus and The Poor People’s Campaign

ON Scripture
By Liz Theoharis
August 6, 2017

Just like poverty stunted the lives of the people of Jesus’ day, poverty destroys, hampers, circumscribes the lives of millions of God’s children in our day. 1 in 2 people living in the United States are poor or low-income; 43% of US children live in families that struggle to feed, clothe and house them. There are 28 million people without health care, 65 million workers who get paid too little to sustain themselves and their families, and record 14 million (1 in 9) US homes are vacant, yet 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year and 39% of them are children.

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A Response to the Evangelicals Who Support Trump: Have You Read the Bible Lately?

The Nation
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
July 26, 2017

As President Donald Trump attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, proposes a budget that is the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the end of the Civil War, and denies the rights of immigrants and religious minorities, a group of evangelical leaders was photographed laying hands on him. When the Rev. Barber wrote an open letter to the clergy involved, his critique of “praying” for someone who is “preying” on the poor struck a nerve.

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You Who Have Neglected: Reading Matthew 23 for #MORALRESISTANCE an an age of Poverty and Inequality

Practical Matters
By Liz Theoharis
May 10, 2017

Although a plethora of biblical texts preach good news to the poor, other texts are used to justify inequality and to blame the poor, or different religious groups, for the misery and oppression of the people. This article focuses on Matthew 23 – one of the strongest biblical critiques of religious and moral (mis)leadership. It asserts the warnings from Matthew 23 are for those in religious leadership and emphasizes their misplaced priorities, exclusion, and hypocrisy. These warnings are a critique of how the religious leadership of Jesus’ day was complicit in the further impoverishment and oppression of the people, but they apply to our day as well. Indeed, throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus provides a large-scale economic and social analysis. Consistent with the main themes of the Hebrew Prophets, this includes: a critique of wealth and poverty; a critique of the status quo and especially the complicity of leaders in the poverty and oppression of the Empire; and the necessity for all, but especially moral and religious leaders, to mix and meld their words and their actions. The article explores the strong moral critique that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes with the Poor People’s Campaign, connects this critique to Matthew 23, and insists that a moral movement and new Poor People’s Campaign is needed to address growing poverty and inequality today. Written in sermon form, it functions as a model for how one might preach about poverty in the contemporary U.S.

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Health care bill is a literal death sentence for many poor people

Religion News Service
By Liz Theoharis
May 5, 2017

NEW YORK (RNS) If the sweeping new health care bill approved by the House passes the Senate next month, it will mean a literal death sentence for many poor people so that a few wealthy elites can acquire more and more.

Indeed, the bill cuts about a trillion dollars in funding for health care while reducing taxes for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans by about the same amount.

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God Hates Poverty

Eerdword: the Eerdmans blog
April 26, 2017

For over twenty years, on nearly a weekly basis, I have heard people quote Matthew 26:11, “the poor will be with you always,” to blame the poor for their poverty, to justify inaction in the face of growing poverty and misery, and to claim that if God wanted to end poverty, He would do so. This passage led me to seminary and biblical scholarship and eventually to write a book: Always With Us?: What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.

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The poor we will always have with us?

The Christian Century
by Liz Theoharis
April 17, 2017

A full understanding of what Jesus meant by “the poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11) requires familiarity with Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy is the Old Testament book most cited in the New Testament. It is the bridge that connects covenantal law, shalom justice, alternative power systems, and economic rights from the Torah through the New Testament.

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‘The Poor Will Always Be With Us’ Is Jesus’ Indictment of the Rich. Not the Poor.

By Liz Theoharis
April 7, 2017

“But there’s also, you know, in the Scripture, tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10 he says, uh, ‘For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ And then he goes on to say ‘We hear that some among you are idle’ … I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements.” —Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.), March 28, 2017

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The Last Week of Jesus Christ and the Last Year of Martin Luther King

Kairos: The Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

The 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” sermon from the Riverside Church fell just before Holy Week. His speech marked one year before his assassination, and his refusal to remain silent about the triple evils of war, racism and poverty in “Beyond Vietnam” must be remembered in relationship to that violent silencing.

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