Faith Versus Trump, January 2019
Rightwing Christians have found much to like in the Trump Administration’s advancement of their priorities, including opposing Planned Parenthood, restricting abortion, marginalizing gay rights and women’s rights, and favoring private school vouchers. And they were heartened by his appointment of conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
But for other faith groups, Trump’s priorities have stirred alarm, and protest. Michael Rothbaum, a rabbi at a suburban Boston synagogue, guesses that his congregation of 280 families mostly vote Democratic. But few of them were what he calls “rally-goers” prior to Trump’s election. Then, he adds quietly, “absolutely, something shifted.”
The Reverend William Barber II has emerged as a leading voice in the struggle for rights for African Americans, the poor, and other marginalized people in the United States, especially in the South. In his former role as president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Barber led the “Moral Mondays” movement that enlisted a broad coalition of people engaged in human rights struggles.
Barber now heads Repairers of the Breach, a multifaith, nonpartisan nonprofit group also based in North Carolina, and cochairs along with the Reverend Liz Theoharis a new Poor People’s Campaign—a “re-engagement” of the movement of the same name that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. took up in 1967.
In late December, Barber spoke by phone with The Progressive about his involvements and how faith-based activists and organizations are responding to President Donald Trump.