"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees"~Isaiah 10:1 The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) just finished its 2018 short session without passing legislation that would help the uninsured in dramatic ways. In 2013, the NCGA refused to … [Read more...] about Improving the State of North Carolina
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing and does not give them their wages. Jeremiah 22:13 Everytime you shop it is important to keep in mind the way that your purchasing decisions affect … [Read more...] about Wise Folks Build Their House on the Rock
In this Easter season of the Christian church, we have just celebrated Resurrection Sunday and the joy we feel that Jesus overcame death. However, my preacher, the Rev. Betty Connette of West Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, noted in her Easter sermon that believing in … [Read more...] about Do We Treat Workers as We Would Treat Jesus?
Many in our state are celebrating 10 years of no executions and putting out a call for no more killings in our name. Patrick O'Neil a leading abolitionist in our state has helped organize a service and vigil to commemorate 10 years of an execution-free North Carolina. The … [Read more...] about North Carolina Passes a Decade with No Executions
"Don’t charge interest when you lend money to any of my people who are in need." --Exodus 22:25 - Contemporary English Version Payday lending is a debt trap for the poor. The average payday borrower takes out 10 loans and pays 391% in interest and fees. Payday lending leads … [Read more...] about Payday Lending is Opposite Biblical Teaching
Worker Memorial Day is April 28, a day when we remember workers who have lost their lives providing goods (buildings, roads, food, clothing, etc) and services (caring for our children, elderly and disabled, cleaning our spaces, mowing our lawns, cutting our hair etc) for “the … [Read more...] about Safety is Imperative to Worker Justice
Remarks delivered on March 30 by Volunteer Program Associate Sandy Irving at the Raleigh public hearing on Medicaid reform. As Medicaid reform is being planned, please consider including Medicaid expansion in the reform package. Providing health insurance for everyone and … [Read more...] about Reform Medicaid by Expanding It
Pope Francis has offered us a message encouraging us to actions that reflects a commitment to dignity and respect for all workers. As the Advent season approaches, gift giving becomes a priority for those of us in the Christian community. There are many ways to shop with a … [Read more...] about Shopping with Meaning
Monday, September 7 is Labor Day when we should honor the workers in our community with dignity and respect. The Social Creed for the 21st century, a document endorsed by major denominations, says specifically we should work for: Employment for all, at a family-sustaining … [Read more...] about Workers Deserve Dignity and Respect
A recent article in Raleigh’s News and Observer focused on the F-35 jet. The American Friends Service Committee calls this weapon system the “plane that ate the budget” and puts the lifetime cost at $1.5 trillion. Over the same period of years that Lockheed Martin has encouraged … [Read more...] about Priorities and the Jet that Ate the Budget
According to Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), “four million fast food workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Many workers are standing up for $15 per hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.” Other low-wage workers, such as home health care … [Read more...] about Advocate for Family-Sustaining Living Wages and the Right to Organize
Our faiths call us to work for justice and show compassion for the “least of these.” Justice issues can also make such good economic sense that we cannot afford not to be compassionate. Such is the case with extending Medicaid to close the coverage gap and provide health … [Read more...] about Compassion Makes Good ‘Cents’ — It’s Affordable
When you think of hunger in our state -- where one in four children lives in a food insecure family -- we wonder what Jesus would have us do to “give them something to eat.” Many of us church folks contribute to food pantries, soup kitchens, and programs that feed the hungry, but … [Read more...] about NC Bread for the World Conference, March 28
Now that Epiphany is over, we are looking back on Advent and Christmas, and remembering our celebrations -- special time with family, special foods or gifts. An article in the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s winter newsletter entitled “For Which Christmas Are You Preparing” by … [Read more...] about Which Christmas Will We Embrace in NC?
“There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American whether he [or she] is a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor Day Sunday this year is August 31 -- a day to … [Read more...] about Workers and Justice — A Call to All People of Faith
“Inequality for All,” a documentary with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, considers the priorities of the US over the last century and offers some interesting observations. When has our country prospered and created the most comfort for the most people? How have government … [Read more...] about National Priorities — What Would Jesus Say?
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. --Martin Luther King, Jr. As many of you know, the 2013 NC legislature declined to accept … [Read more...] about Will your Church be a Voice to Expand Medicaid for NC?
We have all heard about farmworkers who supply us with cheap food but cannot afford food for their own families. This is a contradiction to God’s world of abundance with enough for everyone and contradictory to Biblical teachings to pay just wages. In addition to low wages, we … [Read more...] about Farmworkers — God’s Family Supplying Our Food
Bad news about how we treat hourly workers consumes our headlines daily. Half of fast food workers need public aid. Tipped workers in the US make $2.13 an hour as base pay and haven’t had a raise since 1991. The federal minimum wage has been below what's needed to keep a family … [Read more...] about Common Sense Economics — How the Church Can Help
The North Carolina Soul Repair conference took place March 6 and 7. It was sponsored by many faith communities, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina, Quaker House, and the North Carolina Council of Churches. Speakers included VA clinicians, … [Read more...] about Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral injury after War — What Faith Communities Can Do
Bipartisanship between North Carolina's Senators Burr and Hagan does occasionally show through -- but why and for what? The willingness of our NC Senators and others in Washington to come together in support of war with Iran, and maintaining a budget with more than 50% of … [Read more...] about Becoming a More Peaceful Nation
As Christians, we are called to pay just wages. In Scripture, the Book of Timothy says, “The laborer deserves [their] wages.” James reminds us that fraudulent pay reaches God’s ears, and Paul asks in Romans if we should look at our own life and our own stealing as we are … [Read more...] about Human Dignity and Wages—Are We Stealing?
What does the Lord require of you? Christians are very familiar with the Micah 6:8 verse where we are required to “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” One has to wonder how our Congress can respond to this command with sequestration cuts … [Read more...] about Sequestration Cuts 300,000 Families from Energy Assistance
With Halloween upon us and holiday baking not far behind, think in terms of fair-trade chocolate and other ingredients for sharing and for cooking. According to Vince Isner in the October 13 General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church: This Halloween … [Read more...] about Chocolate the Fair-Trade Way
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to … [Read more...] about Holy Discontentment: Lifting Your Voice and Letting Your Little Light Shine
One in four children in North Carolina is at-risk of hunger. Yet the House of Representatives will soon take up a bill that will cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) over 10 years. These cuts are cruel, unjust … [Read more...] about When I was a Child, I Spoke with Hunger Pains
Congress is back in session. Are you concerned about how your federal tax dollars are being spent, are you confused or both? President Obama notes that the average CEO has gotten a 40% raise since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. Does this … [Read more...] about Federal Spending: Are You Concerned, Confused or Both?
Dozens of organizations across the country are planning events to celebrate Medicare on or around the program’s 48th birthday on July 30. The North Carolina Council of Churches is among groups that have long advocated for health care for all God’s children. Find an event in your … [Read more...] about Medicare Turns 48 on July 30
NCCC Volunteer Program Associate Sandy Irving was arrested at the June 24 Moral Monday. Thirty-five years ago today, I became a mother—and in these last 35 years, I’ve spent a lot of time with children—as a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, and as a friend and … [Read more...] about Why I Went to Jail for Justice on June 24, 2013
The Coalition on Human Needs is sharing sequester impacts and challenging people of faith to raise their voices for the less fortunate. Real cuts are harming our most vulnerable children. We need to remember that one in five children in NC is already living in poverty and many … [Read more...] about A Challenge for People of Faith: Contact Congress like Pentagon Contractors Do
Pediatrician and author Perri Klass has written a powerful essay on childhood poverty as a disease. She writes in part: Toxic stress is the heavy hand of early poverty, scripting a child’s life not in the Horatio Alger scenario of determination and drive, but in the patterns of … [Read more...] about Childhood Poverty is a Disease
Early in the 2013 legislative session for North Carolina, our legislators decided not to expand Medicaid as allowed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In declining to accept this expansion, which would have been totally paid for with federal funds for three years, they have … [Read more...] about NC Legislators Can Reconsider and Expand Medicaid
In keeping with its mission of supporting peace, unity and social justice, the Council recently has signed on to three letters involving issues being addressed at the federal level. We have spoken out for a faithful budget, for preserving low-income tax credits, and for gun … [Read more...] about NC Council of Churches Supports National Groups to Assist the Less Fortunate
At the Child Poverty Summit in Durham earlier this year, we were reminded that 25% of North Carolina children live in poverty. The National Council of Churches is reminding us that federal cuts caused by the sequester are increasing these rates. It is shameful in the wealthiest … [Read more...] about Keep Telling Congress the Sequester is Immoral
Our state and nation are in a time of civil discord. My own preacher, the Rev. Betty Connette, challenged us a few weeks ago to be Citizens of Heaven and to live out a different set of values patterned after Jesus not Caesar...to serve others rather than lord it over them. Our … [Read more...] about Putting a Face on Legislation
On March 1, new federal cuts will begin to take effect. If nothing is done, many hundreds of thousands of people will be hurt by across-the-board cuts to education, job training, home heating assistance, public health, and social services, to name only a few areas. In NC, 18,300 … [Read more...] about Protect the Vulnerable Against Federal Cuts
If you are following the actions of the 2013 NC legislature, you know that the idea of accepting federal funds that will cover health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians is in danger of being rejected by our legislature. The Senate has already declined to … [Read more...] about For the Good of All God’s Children — Accept Federal Money Offered to NC
I was thrilled to attend the Raleigh City Council meeting on January 15 where Council members passed a Bring the War Dollars Home proclamation to send to our North Carolina congressional delegation. I was proud that our capital city of NC has local leadership that recognizes how … [Read more...] about Raleigh City Council Approves Bring The War Dollars Home Proclamation
Congress is overwhelmed with lobbyists for corporations, Chambers of Commerce, AARP, the Department of Defense, etc. But those living in poverty are short on lobbyist as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ is debated and cuts as well as revenue sources are considered. People of faith … [Read more...] about Needed: Lobbyists for the Voiceless
Kim Bobo, a religious and workers' rights activist and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, will meet with other faith and worker rights activists in the Triangle this week to highlight worker-justice issues. She is a highly regarded expert in her area of work and is … [Read more...] about Worker Justice Leader in the Triangle This Week
Half in Ten reminds us that one in five children in the US lives in poverty (sadly, it is one in four in North Carolina) yet the presidential candidates are not discussing poverty in a meaningful way. The Coalition for Human Needs is joining with Half in Ten and Every Child … [Read more...] about Tweet on Behalf of Children in Poverty
Laypeople, clergy and organizational leaders can urge Congress to protect programs vital to vulnerable people as well as to protect the country's economic security by e-mailing their elected leaders or signing on to a letter prepared by the Coalition on Human Needs. The letter … [Read more...] about Urge Congress to Promote the Common Good, Protect the Vulnerable