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Kentucky Council of Churches joins ‘Higher Ground Moral Day of Action’

Demonstrations in 30 cities call for moral lawmaking

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, interim director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, speaks during ‘Higher Ground Moral Day of Action’ on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

The Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, interim director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, speaks during ‘Higher Ground Moral Day of Action’ on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

FRANKFORT, KY – Faith leaders and activists gathered today on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort demanding legislators uphold the values and principles upon which the United States was founded. The group of 80 progressive clergy and supporters joined similarly-timed “Higher Ground Moral Day of Action” demonstrations around the country asking elected officials to apply guidelines present in the Constitution, Bible, Quran and other holy texts to policy making.

The Kentucky event was organized by the Kentucky Council of Churches and spearheaded by its interim executive director the Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) teaching elder. The group sang, prayed a litany and told personal testimonies, along with reciting the Higher Ground Moral Declaration and portions of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, before attempting to deliver the declaration to Governor Matt Bevin and marching around the capitol two times.

“It’s time to call again for us to rise up,” said Hinds, referring to the momentum and formative changes of the Civil Rights era. “Over the years we have gradually lost that sense of unity … We’re here to call us back to being our higher selves.”

In addition to addressing Governor Bevin, Hinds said the Moral Declaration was being sent to all state and national legislators, and had been presented to the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates. “We want them to know there is a more progressive moral voice in this country. A moral voice that stands for justice, equity, for fairness. We stand with those who live in poverty, with those who experience oppression and marginalization—not because they’ve done anything wrong, but just because of the color of their skin,” she said.


Clergy and activists march around the Kentucky State Capitol following the ‘Higher Ground Moral Day of Action’ rally. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

Over 11,000 people of faith and 2,500 clergy representing all 50 states have currently signed the moral declaration. Speakers at the Kentucky rally highlighted the declaration’s key values including the economic liberation of all people, ensuring every child receives access to quality education, healthcare access for all, criminal justice reform and ensuring historically marginalized communities have equal protection under the law.

Alonzo Johnson, coordinator for Self Development of People at the PC(USA), also attended and spoke to the dire need for peacemaking in our local communities, nationally and in the world. “We’ve spent more money on war than programs to help house, feed or provide health care for our own people,” he said, speaking about his father—an Air Force veteran—and the substandard health care he received following his military service.

“The Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is about challenging the theological malpractice of the so-­called ‘religious right’ that attempts to limit the moral discussion in the public square,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, organizer of Moral Mondays and a leader in the Moral Day of Action. “We are calling on clerics, people who have been impacted by extremism, and people of moral conscience to join delegations across the country to engage and challenge candidates and officeholders on the moral issues of our time,” he said.

The Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is being coordinated in over 30 capital cities including Montgomery, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Sacramento, California; Denver, Colorado; Hartford, Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Dover, Delaware; Tallahassee, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Frankfort, Kentucky; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Boston, Massachusetts; Annapolis, Maryland; Lansing, Michigan; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Jefferson City, Missouri; Jackson, Mississippi; Raleigh, North Carolina; Concord, New Hampshire; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Carson City, Nevada; Albany, New York; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Columbia, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Richmond, Virginia and Madison, Wisconsin.

The Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is a part of “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” a national multi­state tour to redefine morality in American politics. “The Revival” challenges leaders of faith and moral courage to be more vocally opposed to harmful policies that disproportionately impact vulnerable communities.

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