This post comes from Rev. Dr. Paula Gravelle, Executive Director of NYS Council of Churches; these are the words she shared on Moral Monday, March 31st.
We stand together today in solidarity with millions of New Yorkers who have been praying, writing letters, making telephone calls, holding signs, and researching facts and figures to demonstrate to our state legislators that a moral budget is possible. We stand together because our faith calls us to strive for justice and to be witnesses that one day doing what is right for all people will be more important than serving the needs of a select group of people – in this case – the wealthiest New Yorkers.
How can our elected officials possibly think it is okay to give to the rich and take away from the poor? How can our elected officials ignore the very call to service entrusted to them by people who thought that electing them would mean they might have an advocate, a voice, in this budget process?
It is morally wrong when the voices of the wealthy are heard while the voices of others are ignored; it is morally wrong when the dignity of workers is tromped on; it is morally wrong when the hungry continue in hunger while the wealthiest among us have their tax burden reduced. It is not only morally wrong – it is outrageous. Our elected officials can do something about this – the question is do they want to do something about it?
We have been holding them in prayer throughout the month of March because as people of faith we want our elected representatives to know they are surrounded by a wisdom greater than their own. We want to remind them that although their task is enormous they do not walk through the valley alone. We want to remind them that although it cost money to run for office – the lives of the people they have been elected to serve are worth more than any money in a campaign chest.
I invite you to pause with me for a moment as together we focus on the wisdom, the justice, the strength, the compassion, and the hope that the Divine rains down upon us, our elected officials, and all people. May we each respond to these gifts in ways that embrace all people. Amen.