Are tax cuts anti-God? New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein again celebrated a protest movement by the religious left (while chiding the religious right) in “50 Years Later, New Push to Magnify Plight of Poor.” The text box: “A plan to mount large protests on 40 consecutive days," keyed to the new tax bill that in Goodstein's words, "mainly benefits corporations and the rich."
Showing her loathing of the religious right and fealty to the religious left, Goodstein cheered on Pope Francis’s attacks on capitalism, but likened meeting with anti-gay marriage Kim Davis risked igniting a “culture war":
When 12 religious leaders in collars and vestments were arrested last week in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, they were reading Bible verses about caring for the poor, and doing it so loudly that their voices could be heard at the doors of senators’ office suites nine stories above.
Readers were also blessed with Goodstein’s economic Marxism:
It was to little avail: The Senate went ahead and passed a tax bill early on Saturday, promoted as relief for the middle class, that mainly benefits corporations and the rich -- and that many economists say offers little or nothing for the poor.
The middle class and its discontents have occupied so much political and media attention lately that poverty has been crowded out. But some prominent religious leaders are gearing up for a campaign to try to put it back on the nation’s agenda in a way that it hasn’t been in decades.
The left-wing religious protesters are marking the half-century of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Poor People’s Campaign” with a revival, reminiscent of the “Moral Mondays” in North Carolina of the last two years, a civil rights movement the Times pushed hard for in several front-page stories (Trump won the state by three points in 2016). Goodstein explained:
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Organizers now hope to mount large protests on 40 consecutive days next year, in at least 25 state capitals and other locations, with crowds in the tens of thousands courting arrest.
Goodstein’s sympathies are obvious by the way she contrasted the social conservative agenda with that of the left:
They are aiming to redefine what constitutes a “moral agenda” in politics. Many on the right frame it in narrow terms of opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. By contrast, the poor people’s campaign’s sprawling agenda includes issues like wages, health care, immigrant rights, gay and transgender rights, criminal justice reform, and clean water and air.
It remains to be seen whether the campaign can catch fire as the organizers hope. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, a minister, longtime civil rights advocate and co-leader of the National African American Clergy Network, says most churches have remained on the sidelines in the Trump era, and too few have spoken out against the tax bills in Congress, which are expected to lead to significant cuts in the nation’s social safety net.
Free positive publicity in the NYT is a great start toward getting the campaign to “catch fire”:
Although more than 2,400 leaders of many faiths signed a letter to senators calling the tax bills “fundamentally unjust,” and the nation’s Catholic bishops requested multiple changes to benefit the working poor, their objections have barely registered.
“You don’t see the outrage of the civil rights movement, or the antiwar movement,” Dr. Williams-Skinner said. “You don’t see that kind of outrageous indignation.”
Goodstein dropped her liberal aversion to Bible thumping when it's coming from the left:
Dr. Williams-Skinner was one of the religious leaders protesting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building last week, as part of the evangelical social justice group Sojourners. She read from the Gospel of Matthew: “I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat.”