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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:57

Clergy to Congress: Make a Righteous Decision to Resist or Resign

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BISHOP DWAYNE ROYSTER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

6096334425 6da6072c3e z opt(Photo: Jason Taellious / Flickr)Today, 60 clergy and faith leaders from a dozen states are descending on Capitol Hill with a single question for their representatives: Will you make a righteous decision for communities of color or will you resign?

Making a righteous decision is making a decision to resist hate. Our nation was built, and has been maintained, on a clear hierarchy of human value. Today, white supremacy shows up in the policies that the Trump administration is pushing, which keep Black and Brown communities down, if not actually out of the country. Between ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for 800,000 Dreamers and putting forth a budget that increases spending for militarization of the border and increased raids, detention and harassment of immigrants by $2.6 billion, President Donald J. Trump is forcing us to choose which of our neighbors can stay: children or their parents. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reinvigorating the war on drugs, which imprisoned African Americans for doing the same things their white peers did.

People from all races and backgrounds benefit from government services, but congressional Republicans and the Trump administration see communities of color as unworthy of the services afforded to others. The House budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act and restructure Medicaid to cut over $1 trillion from health care and give each of the richest 400 families a tax break of $7 million annually. The president's tax plan includes $5.5 trillion in tax breaks for wealthy elites and big corporations -- so that there's little or nothing left for anyone else.

We could go on, but the point is clear. This is what it looks like when those in power perpetuate a system that serves only themselves. People of faith are building a new movement that includes people of all religions, all races and all income levels and sees every person for who they are -- children of God who deserve fair treatment, safety and opportunity, without exceptions.

We are on God's side. Our question to congressional Republicans is, "Whose side are you on?"

We have come to Capitol Hill to find out which side our members of Congress and senators are on. If they aren't on the side of God, the side that sees value in every human being, they should resign immediately.

Making a righteous decision means abandoning President Trump's push for immoral policies. They must reject the proposed budget, which reflects a belief that some people are deserving of public resources and some are not. For example, Trump's budget blueprint cuts $1.7 trillion in Medicaid, food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education and many other safety net programs, but increases funding for mass detention and deportation squads which make it clear to Black and Brown people that there's no place for them in the US.

Making a righteous decision isn't limited to Republicans; Democrats have work to do, as well. These leaders who consider themselves allies must go beyond talk and supportive tweets. That means assessing and monitoring legislation for its racial impact, requiring the Democratic caucuses to go through implicit bias and anti-racism trainings, and firmly opposing militarization against and criminalization of people of color in the budget.

Hate knows no bounds. What starts as a policy to hurt people of color will also ensnare our white brothers and sisters. White people who work for low wages -- and anyone else who isn't in the club -- are losing ground.

We are prayerful and do not despair. We can correct our mistakes. We can make a righteous decision by taking decisive action. We call on our leaders to resist immoral policies and practices whenever and wherever we see them. We need them, with us, in the fight for what is right.

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Bishop Dwayne Royster is the political director of PICO National Network.