As the Reverend William Barber appeared as a guest on Saturday's AM Joy on MSNBC to give his religion-based views on current events, host Joy Reid at one point seemed to worry about not being able to talk more about Republican Rep. Steve Scalise's conservative views and his history on "race," as she recalled the discredited story that the congressman spoke to a white nationalist event 15 years ago.
The Reverend Barber declared that he hopes that Scalise stops being "homophobic," and that Republicans -- presumably including Scalise -- stop "preying" on "the poor and on minorities and the sick," and at one point even quoted from the Bible a passage that seemed to suggest that Scalise suffered "woe" because of his legislative actions.
At about 11:20 a.m., after expressing hopes that Scalise recovers from his injuries, Reid worried about the Republican congressman's political history as she posed:
“Obviously it’s a delicate thing because everybody is wishing the congressman well and hoping that he recovers, but Steve Scalise has a history that it's -- we've all been forced to sort of ignore on race. He did come to leadership after some controversy over attending a white nationalist event -- which he says he didn't know what it was. He also co-sponsored a bill to amend the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
He voted for the House health care bill which -- as you said -- would gut health care for millions of people, including three million children. And he co-sponsored a bill to repeal the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Because he is in jeopardy and everybody is pulling for him, are we required in a moral sense to put that aside at the moment?
The Reverend Barber began by hoping that the Republican's political views become more liberal after he recovers:
What we're required to say is we hope that -- we hope he recovers, and that when he recovers, there's a renewed mindset. If a lesbian person saved your life, you should not go forward being, you know, homophobic -- you shouldn't do it anyway. If you almost died but your life was saved because you got health care, then you should apply that ethic and want everybody else [to have] the same health care that you have.
The liberal reverend then seemed to hint that Scalise's political actions might have played a role in him suffering a tragedy as he quoted from the Bible and cautioned against "hypocrisy." Barber:
You know, the Bible, one of the guys that prayed, Walker, is from North Carolina, and he was saying how he prayed for everybody, well -- and he's a Christian -- well, the Bible says in Isaiah 10: "Woe unto those who legislate evil and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey." The Bible calls whenever you just put on a face in a time of crisis but continue to do the same thing, it's called making graves look good that are still full of dead man's bones. In other words, it's hypocrisy.
He then suggested that Republicans are "preying" on some Americans as he added:
If Congress people pray for one another -- and they should P-R-A-Y -- but then if they pass policies that prey -- P-R-E-Y -- on the poor and on minorities and the sick, then we have a serious moral problem. And even our Constitution, Joy, says the only way you can get to domestic tranquility, the only way you can get to civility, is you must start with the establishment of justice, you must provide for the common good, and you must promote the general welfare. Changing the tone of words is not enough. You have to have a change in the trajectory of policy. Prayer is not enough. Faith must have works.
He concluded by reiterating that he hopes Scalise changes his political views:
So I'm praying that the brother gets up and lives and then comes back and says, "You know, this experience has changed my thinking fundamentally -- not just about myself, but about the policies I support." And, lastly, Joy, they talked about raising a million dollars for charity. That is good, but if you turn around and take $600 billion from the poor and the least of these, and you don't vote to give people a living wage, personal privatized charity is not going to solve our social problems when it comes to the poor and the least of these.
Reid agreed: "Yeah, I think you'll get a lot of amens on that."