The New Year brings news of an appearance in Little Rock by the electrifying Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, who’ll bring his message to Arkansas for the opening of the legislature. It’s a place where attitudes toward poor people could use some adjustment, though perhaps not as much as in the mind of Jerry Falwell Jr.
Falwell gave a remarkable interview to the Washington Post (which he has praised for its accuracy) that included a head-smacking quote that indicates he needs some remedial work in the Beatitudes. It came as he was explaining how he could support Donald Trump, despite his personal foibles. It’s about policy, said Falwell.
There’s two kingdoms. There’s the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. In the heavenly kingdom the responsibility is to treat others as you’d like to be treated. In the earthly kingdom, the responsibility is to choose leaders who will do what’s best for your country. Think about it. Why have Americans been able to do more to help people in need around the world than any other country in history? It’s because of free enterprise, freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurism and wealth. A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.
There was also this from the Falwell interview, with my emphasis supplied on one word:
Is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger that support from you or other evangelical leaders?
I’m guessing Falwell might take exception to the moral agenda of the Poor People’s Campaign.
One part is particularly apt for the legislature, which is about to give more than half the benefit of a new income tax cut to the top 1 percent in Arkansas.
Did you know that while the U.S. economy has grown 18-fold in the past 50 years, wealth inequality has expanded, the costs of living have increased, and social programs have been restructured and cut dramatically?
Among the group’s demands to address these unequal conditions:
We demand that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of our country’s urgent needs around decent and affordable housing, free public education, a robust social safety net and social security.
Preach on though it might fall on deaf ears under the dome.