The Civitas Institute, which is primarily funded by North Carolina oligarch Art Pope, has launched an attack against Moral Monday protesters proving once more that the demonstrations are getting to them. The response from North Carolina’s right wing has become hysterical and has begun to sound offended at the very idea that people may not find their current agenda either “Godly” or “Moral”. From today’s Civitas hit, to the NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald’s attempt to paint “lowering taxes” as a component of Christian teachings, the far right in North Carolina seems frightened, challenged, and above all offended at the demonstrators and their message that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
The Civitas hit is by far the funniest, while Fitzgerald’s embracing of Ayn Rand over Jesus Christ is probably most disturbing to her fellow Christians. The Art Pope funded Civitas released a statement today calling Moral Monday “Civil Disobedience Lite” – basically stating that unless the Governor or General Assembly decided to act violently to put down the protest, then the demonstrations have no merit because the protesters are not suffering enough.
“These comparisons do great violence to the memories of those activists. Ghandi marched 240 miles on foot to protest British policies in India. Martin Luther King faced down fire hoses, bombings, and police dogs in Birmingham. Henry David Thoreau was furious when friends bailed him out of jail, believing that prison time was a crucial part of triggering reform.”
Ironically, the Moral Monday events are seeing hundreds of people taking a day off of work and traveling 250 miles from Asheville, or 130 miles from Wilmington to protest the NCGA’s policies. The activists may not be facing down fire hoses or bombings, but they are having friends bail them out of jail as a result of their efforts to trigger reform.
In what sounds like the worst of patrician attitudes the Civitas piece ends with:
At a certain point, you have to wonder what kind of fantasy world these people live in to compare themselves to King, Thoreau, and Ghandi. The truth is that Moral Monday protesters are undercutting the democratic process, costing taxpayers a boatload of money, and clogging an already overloaded criminal justice system.
So according to Civitas if police do not attack you with water hoses and dogs then your cause has no merit or meaning.
NC Values Coalition’s Fitzgerald’s letter to the Raleigh News & Observer is even more eye-brow raising. To hear Fitzgerald tell it mainstream churches such as Lutherans, Methodist, and Presbyterians cannot claim moral authority. Apparently in Fitzgerald’s world only white, evangelical churches who push Social Darwinism over the teachings of Jesus Christ can claim any moral authority.
Balancing our state budget, lowering taxes, creating jobs, improving our educational opportunities and protecting the unborn are basic values that will promote the health and sustainability of our families and ultimately our economy. Those are godly values – not the ones endorsed by this newspaper and the radical activists it applauds.
With those reactions and the hysterical rantings of State Senator Thom Goolsby and others, North Carolina’s conservatives seem to be flummoxed, confused, and angry at Moral Monday demonstrators. Last week’s attempt to discredit the demonstrations by using the old Segregationist stand by of “outside agitators” landed like a lead balloon due to the fact that 98% of those arrested have been North Carolina citizens. Considering that both Governor Pat McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger are from Ohio and New York respectively, that argument has begun to peter out.
Over 400 North Carolina citizens have been arrested on Moral Mondays and thousands have protested the policies and agenda of the Republican Supermajority on Jones St. Five ministers and other citizens from Winston-Salem have been among those who were arrested. On Monday afternoon more vans and cars pulled out of Winston-Salem headed to Raleigh.
You can read the full Civitas attack HERE.
Tami Fitzgerald’s discounting of churches HERE.
CCD Editor Chad Nance’s Third Shift column about Sen. Goolsby’s rant HERE.
CCD coverage of the mainstream Christianity’s involvement with Moral Monday HERE.
CCD coverage of clergy request for a meeting with Governor McCrory HERE.