Faith Voices of Columbia kicks off with discussion of political moral issues

Apr 2, 2014

Signs were passed out to people during the event, “A Call to Dignity” Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Audience members raised them high in the air to show their agreement on a situation.
Credit Heather Adams / KBIA

Debbie Jenkins has been a health care worker for 38 years, but last year she lost her job. Now she lives on $875 a month, which she is told is too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Clergy and members of different congregations have been meeting all over Missouri and other parts of the United States to talk about political moral issues, such as Medicaid expansion. And at 7 p.m. April 1 in Second Missionary Baptist Church, the kick-off event for Faith Voices of Columbia began, through the event “A Call to Dignity.”

Faith Voices of Columbia gathers to bring awareness and to fight against problems they consider to be immoral, problems such as Jenkins.

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon said she is told the finances around Medicaid are complicated, but after hearing stories of so many people, she knows she had to take a stand and help them.

“The numbers may or may not be complex but the morality is clear and simple,” she said.

Diane Haas attended the event after hearing about it at her church. She said that because she works in the medical field she often sees people getting turned away due to a lack of health care coverage.

“It is the time,” Hass said. “It is the time to step forward and be brave and to be part of the change.”

But Gordon said, members of the senate said Medicaid expansion is dead.

“They tried to bury it and roll a stone across its tomb,” she said.

Gordon then asked that this not be the case.

“Easter is coming,” she said.

Rev. Dr. William Barber started the movement, Moral Mondays, in North Carolina. During his speech at the event, he used bible versus such as Psalm 94 to motivate people to stand up for what they believe in. But he says the movement needs to have a vision. 

“The first role of a moral movement is to change the imagination of the people,” he said.

Barber believes America is in the midst of the third reconstruction. He warned audiences that with each reconstruction there are people trying to tear it down.

He said each state is different, so he is leaving it up to the people of Missouri to make a specific plan. And he emphasized the need in “homegrown leadership” focusing on state government and to “demand equal protection under the law.”

Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, who focused on early voting laws, said that 1,000 voices can trump $1,000 and that “the giants do fall.”

Although, Barber leaves tomorrow, audience members and clergy expressed their enthusiasm of continuing on this movement in Columbia. 

Rev. Brian Ford looks to the future and plans to sit down and “talk about how we work at building and putting dignity back in the center of public life.”