We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People's Campaign

We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign

Edited by Liz Theoharis
Foreword by William J. Barber II
Broadleaf Press, 2021

Organized into fifty-two chapters, each focusing on a key Scripture passage, We Cry Justice offers comfort and challenge from the many stories of the poor taking action together. Read anew the story of the exodus that frees people from debt and slavery, the prophets who denounce the rich and ruling classes, the stories of Jesus’s healing and parables about fair wages, and the early church’s sharing of goods. Reflection questions and a short prayer at the end of each chapter offer the opportunity to use the book devotionally through a year.

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Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor

by Liz Theoharis
Forward by William J. Barber II
Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2017

A strong theological call for ending the abomination of systemic poverty.

Theoharis reinterprets “the poor you will always have with you” to show that it is actually one of the strongest biblical mandates to end poverty. She documents stories of poor people themselves organizing to improve their lot and illuminates the implications for the church. Poverty is not inevitable, Theoharis argues. It is a systemic sin, and all Christians have a responsibility to partner with the poor to end poverty once and for all.

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Articles & Interviews

Roses Dressed in Black: America’s War Economy and the Urgent Call for Peace in the Middle East

Tom Dispatch
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
November 5, 2023

On September 19, 2001, eight days after 9/11, as the leaders of both parties were already pounding a frenzied drumbeat of war, a diverse group of concerned Americans released a warning about the long-term consequences of a military response. Among them were veteran civil rights activists, faith leaders, and public intellectuals, including Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte, and Palestinian-American Edward Said.

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Mike Johnson’s reading of Scripture misses what it really means to be a Christian nation

The question is, what Scripture is the new House speaker reading?

Religion News Service
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
November 2, 2023

(RNS) — Mike Johnson’s ascendancy to speaker of the House came as a shock to many in Washington and the country last week. The Louisiana congressman has not been a household name, it’s true, and even in the halls of Congress he’s had positions of marginal influence. The collective surprise was understandable on that score. 

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It’s a Poverty Emergency and We Must Act

Lives cut short from poverty and low-wealth is a moral indictment of a society that is abandoning millions amid abundance.

Common Dreams
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
October 19, 2023

In the richest country in human history, poverty has become a death sentence. Yes, despite the fact that the United States throws out more food than is needed to feed every hungry person, that the nation spends more and has more cutting edge developments in health care than any other nation, and despite the GDP growing exponentially over the past years, poverty is the fourth largest killer.

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Abandoning the Poor

Tom Dispatch
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
October 8, 2023

On the island of Manhattan, where I live, skyscrapers multiply like metal weeds, a vertical invasion of seemingly unstoppable force. For more than a century, they have risen as symbols of wealth and the promise of progress for a city and a nation. In movies and TV shows, those buildings churn with activity, offices full of important people doing work of global significance. The effect is a feeling of economic vitality made real by the sheer scale of the buildings themselves. 

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Poor Organizing

Boston Review
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
September 19, 2023

I was eighteen when I first started organizing in Kensington, on the boundary between lower north and northeast Philadelphia. At the time very racially diverse, the neighborhood was an emblem of the country’s changing economy; once an epicenter of the textile industry, it was pummeled by deindustrialization in the 1970s and 1980s, and before the 1996 federal welfare reform law, the two main sources of income for residents were welfare and drugs. A peasant organizer from Haiti told me that the housing and health conditions in mid-1990s Kensington looked as bad as those in her hometown.

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New York Historical Society Interview – Voices of Faith: Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

Voices of Faith: Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
New York Historical Society Interview
August 30, 2023

The eighth annual Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History in March explored how women and LGBTQ+ people have transformed not only their own faith but also the religious lives of their communities. Today, we are highlighting one of those voices, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary to discuss how her own personal journey impacted her core philosophies.

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About the Author

The Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis is a theologian, pastor, author, and anti-poverty activist. She is the Executive Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. Rev. Dr. Theoharis has been organizing in poor and low-income communities for the past 30 years. Her books include: We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign (Broadleaf Press, 2021) and Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor (Eerdmans, 2017) and she has been published in the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, Sojourners and elsewhere. Rev. Dr. Theoharis is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and teaches at Union Theological Seminary. She has been awarded the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, the Selma Bridge Award, the Women of Spirit Award from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others.