If you haven't met Rev. William Barber, then you are in for a treat. This is not your grandma's Sunday service, that's for sure.
Moral dissent, my friends, is not just the call of the Psalmist, nor is it just the stance of Jesus, 2000 years ago. Moral dissent. It has been, and still is, our calling today.
For all the fighting that we have done over education in the South. My heart hurts, when I look over there at my left and that woman that sat on that piano remember that she made a decision-- her and my father-- to come back to the South, to integrate public schools. That 17 years after Brown, had still not complied with the law. So, my mother, over there, who was way up in government in the Midwest, one of the best in her field. And my father, with his two Master's Degrees, had to come back to the South, where he didn't even have protected voting rights. And had to bring their only child at that time. And, without asking my permission...
...they entered me into segregated public schools, so that they could make their contribution to this legacy of dissent against the evils of segregation and discrimination.
My mother, going to a school where her first name was nigger, but then being able to look at her sitting over there, now, where she will go to that same school, tomorrow morning. Where the children of the children that called her the N-word, now call her Mama Barbara.
It was one vote of moral, Constitutional dissent, in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Just one. Justin John Harlan, from Kentucky, the Great Dissenter, they called him. He said that, in the eye of the Lord, there is, in this country, no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizen. Our Constitution neither knows nor tolerates classes among it's citizens, in respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the Lord. He lost the vote. But, he won history. He engaged in a one-vote moral dissent, and it was upon this dissent that Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall were able to build the legal theory that led us to the victory against Plessy v. Ferguson in 1954.
We have to look at public policy through the moral lens of justice for all. And through the Constitutional principle of the common good. Keeping hundreds of thousands of children from seeing a doctor when they're sick is not just bad policy, it's immoral. Then kicking hard-working people who lost jobs, through no fault of their own, off unemployment benefits, to give tax-cuts to the very wealthy is not just bad policy, it's immoral. It's against the common good, and the people must raise a dissent. It has nothing to do with whether or not we have the votes. It doesn't even have anything to do with if they change. They may change, but we must, for God's sake, make sure that there is not a silence. That change ought to be, and change ought to happen.
We must raise our moral dissent because it is our calling. If you've ever wondered why you were born, you were born for this season. If you've ever struggled with, why am I here, you are here for this season. If you've ever wrestled with, why has God given me the opportunity and the intellect and the ability…