taking the words of Jesus seriously

Last Tuesday, July 18th, clergy and other moral leaders returned to Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s (R-KY) office to demonstrate our opposition to any legislation that would take healthcare away from our fellow Americans. Responding to the arrests of sick people from their wheelchairs, some of us had visited McConnell’s office the week before, on July 13th, and were arrested.

Some things, we said, are not left versus right, but simply right versus wrong. It is wrong to take healthcare away from people, knowing that some of them will get sicker and die without it. We may not be able to stop this political violence, but we must raise a moral dissent. We who believe in justice must cry out to God against injustice.

As we were praying on Capitol Hill this past week, news broke that the Republican majority in the Senate could not agree on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “Kill the bill; let the people live!” we chanted in the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building. Someone, it seemed, was listening.

But Senate Leader McConnell did not repent of the plans he and others had made to take healthcare away from millions of Americans in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy. Instead, he has promised a vote this week to proceed to a bill. The Republican leadership on Capitol Hill is determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act with or without a plan for replacement.

There are times when silence is not an option — when we must engage in the dangerous ministry of telling the truth. This is one of those times. The fight for healthcare in our nation today is a fight for the soul of America. We cannot turn back now.

This is why this coming Tuesday — and for as many Tuesdays as McConnell continues to pursue repeal — our coalition of clergy and moral leaders is linking arms with doctors, healthcare professionals, and patients at risk of losing access to healthcare if the ACA is repealed. We are standing together to say that access to healthcare is a moral issue.

See our moral coalition’s call to action below, and please register your contact information if you are able to participate Tuesday. We will send you call-in information for a time of preparation on Monday evening at 9pm. I look forward to talking to you then.

Forward together,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II


A Call to Raise the Moral Conscience of Congress

Answering the call of Repairers of the Breach with Faith in Public Life, and inspired by the #BlackClergyUprising, a movement of faith leaders is rising up to resist this egregious assault on healthcare.

We will gather on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM in our nation’s capital. For two weeks in a row, people of faith have taken up the call of Jeremiah once again to go to the places where powers sit and demand they stop the political murder of those who risk losing healthcare.

A plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with watered-down, unaffordable coverage and severe cuts to Medicaid has failed, but Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t stop trying to take away our healthcare to give tax breaks to the rich and corporations. Right now, the assault on our healthcare continues on three fronts: repeal of the Affordable Care Act without replacement in the Senate, Affordable Care Act sabotage, and deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in the House budget.

Faith leaders across the country recognize this as a moral assault on millions of American families, seniors, children, people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, and low-income workers. The proposed legislation threatens to:

  • Take away health coverage from 32 million Americans
  • Double health insurance premiums
  • Cut healthcare for millions while giving huge tax breaks to households with incomes over $1 million

If your conscience calls you to engage in civil disobedience, join us. We will provide a training (9AM on 7/25) and legal support. We are in need of additional support, so if you can’t engage in civil disobedience please DO come to witness. If you cannot make it this Tuesday, please keep an eye out for future Tuesday actions.


DATE & TIME: July 25th 10:30 AM

LOCATION: Lutheran Church of the Reformation (212 East Capitol St NE | Washington, DC 20003)

Action: March to follow press conference at 10:30 AM. Those participating, including those engaging in civil disobedience, please register.

Witness this week is led by: 

  • Auburn Seminary
  • Faith in Public Life
  • #LoveResists
  • Middle Church, NYC
  • Red Letter Christians
  • Repairers of the Breach
  • Unitarian Universalist Association

About The Author


The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and President of Repairers of the Breach. He has served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, the largest state conference in the South, since 2006 and sits on the National NAACP Board of Directors. A former Mel King Fellow at MIT, he is currently Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. Rev. Barber is author of the best-selling The Third Reconstruction: How A Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear.

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