In a speech inflamed with passion, anger and an altar call’s possibility of hope, Bill Moyers spoke to General Synod on Saturday morning about poverty and justice. His 57-minute keynote address – interrupted by applause more than three dozen times and followed by a two-minute standing ovation – lamented the growing gap between the rich and poor in America and called the UCC to act in the name of the Jesus who was a disturber of the peace and threw the rascals out. Evan Golder reporting for UCC News quotes from Moyers speech:
“I have come to say that America’s revolutionary heritage – and America’s revolutionary spirit – “life, liberty and the pursuit of justice, through government of, by, and for the people” – is under siege,” he said. “And if churches of conscience don’t take the lead in their rescue and revival, we can lose our democracy!”
“You have raised a prophetic voice against the militarism, materialism and racism that chokes America’s arteries.
“You have placed yourselves in the thick of the fight for social justice.
“You have aligned yourself on the side of liberty, equality and compassion.
“And you have been a church of prominent firsts: first to ordain an African American, first to ordain a woman, and first to ordain an openly gay person.”
For 30 years,” Moyers said, “we have witnessed a class war fought from the top down against the idea and ideal of equality. It has been a drive by a radical elite to gain ascendancy over politics and to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that checked the excesses of private power.”
It’s as if you invited 100 persons to a party, divided a pie into five pieces and gave four pieces all to one person, leaving one piece for the remaining 99, he said.
“Don’t be surprised if they fight over it,” he said, “which is exactly what’s happening when people look at their wages and then their taxes and end up hating the government and anything it does.
“The strain on working people and on family life has become intense,” he said. “Television sets and cell phones and iPods are cheap, but higher education, health care, public transportation, drugs, housing and cars have risen in price faster than typical family incomes.”
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