NAACP: State policies hurting ‘least among us’

N.C. NAACPOctober 25, 2013 

Open Letter to Gov. McCrory

We, the undersigned concerned clergy and people of good will in North Carolina, have seen the devastating impacts of the immoral policies of our state legislature, supported and approved by you. We write to remind you that the measure of a society is its treatment of the least among us – the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the incarcerated.

Our state’s policies and practices are being weighed on the scales of justice. They, and all of us who stand on the sidelines and watch them go into effect without raising our voices, are judged on the criteria established in our faith traditions and the principles in our documents which first constituted our nation and state. No matter which measure of human decency is used, our moral profile is a scandal. We ask you to focus on two of the most arrogant and hurtful policies you supported and approved.

Your denial of Medicaid insurance to some 500,000 of our neighbors will cause many to be without health care. The denial of health care is not because of their inability to pay or their lack of concern for their health. Rather it is caused by their own government! When this ideological policy goes into effect, it will result, according to some estimates, in 2,000 of our North Carolina neighbors each year dying untimely, otherwise preventable, deaths. We therefore implore you to accept the federal funds available for medical insurance for our half-million neighbors which you rejected for ideological reasons at the beginning of your term.

Meaningful employment and a living wage are necessary for human dignity. We believe everyone able to work, should work. We must acknowledge we are in financially difficult circumstances. Thousands of our neighbors are still struggling to find work. North Carolina has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation. We therefore implore you to accept the federal funds available for unemployment insurance for our 170,000 neighbors which you rejected for ideological reasons earlier this year.

You have the power to address these two inhumane policies. In less than 70 days, their full fury will be felt by our neighbors, as they both go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. We respectfully request that you call a Special Redemption Session of the Legislature, and use your powers to guide them out of the ideological and moral dead-ends of these dumb, inhumane policies. We would be pleased to celebrate with you, on the Moral Monday that falls on Dec. 23, 2013, when you lead the state away from these acts of moral irresponsibility.

We shall hold a Moral Monday Service of Redemption. The many faith and ethical traditions our Moral Monday movement represent all have special days we celebrate during this season.

You have said that as you govern you are “not afraid to step on toes.” As you step on toes, we pray you will not step on God’s toes. We pray you have the grace and wisdom to accept the federal funds for the medicaid and unemployment insurance for those who are eligible. We pray you will heed God’s call. We pray you will listen to all faiths and ethical commands. We pray you will uphold our constitution.

This letter was written by the Rev. Rodney Sadler, the Rev. William Turner, Elder Carrie Bolton and the Rev. William J. Barber II, four clergy members arrested during Moral Mondays protests last spring, and was unanimously endorsed at the N.C. NAACP 70th annual state convention.

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