Sister Simone Campbell: Time to talk about race, poverty and justice

RNS asked some of the country’s top faith leaders, scholars and activists to consider what changes the religion landscape will see in 2018. Find all their predictions here.

(RNS) — I predict that in 2018 race and poverty will be front and center in the national dialogue as faith leaders step out into the public square to issue a cry for justice. This cry will galvanize people around the country with the truth that poverty and racism are structural in our society and We the People can and will change that reality.

In the election cycle we will talk about the truth of 21st century poverty where families of our nation are poor because their wages are so low. We will talk about how food stamps and Medicaid go to working families because their employers neither pay enough in wages nor give benefits to their workers. In that conversation we will be able to shine a light on the policies passed by Congress that have created the racial wealth gap. These policies include redlining, the GI bill, student loans, and so many more. Once we recognize this structural racism, then we can make change happen.

Faith leaders will call out the lie of politicians who says that “we can’t afford the programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. We will demonstrate that these programs have become business subsidies to make up for the fact that our workers are not paid enough and therefore use programs to survive. We will call our nation to be its best self and to change the rhetoric…and the policy.

2018 will not change everything, but it will be a step towards publicly engaging the truth about race and poverty in the United States. Once raised to consciousness, we then will commit to change. This requires a step away from hyper-individualism and fear and toward community.

I’m not sure we have the courage to take this step, but, I believe, that 2018 will give us the clear choice. Once we talk about the truth of race and poverty in the U.S., will we be willing to commit to change? To answer yes, I believe that faith leaders will need to stand up and lead the way forward through a new wilderness on the way to healing and hope.

(Sister Simone Campbell is a Sister of Social Service, a lawyer and a poet. She is the Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and leader of NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus. The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

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Simone Campbell


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  • How do you stay in a religion that treats women the way the Catholic Church does? On the other hand, why support religion of any kind? See below:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in 2018 in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • as far as the spreading of evangelicalism, the message has to change to one of “believability”, i.e. the truth and nothing but the truth: The days of metaphor/parables are over: The time where Jesus said “he would explain and show PLAINLY the Father are here: The NEW TESTAMENT (COVENANT) that is promised in the OLD Testament where GOD WRITES his LAW into the heart and mind is HERE: The focus will be on that TRUTH instead of believing in CHRIST for the ‘ego’s benefit’ hence the ego must be CLEARLY defined as OPPOSED to the soul (hence the mystery of iniquity/EGO against the mystery of godliness/SOUL and the soul must RISE above the ego (like Jacob supplanted Esau his ego): Here the SOUL understands that the ego never was meant to get that birthright, that born again experience: THE SOUL was, because the ego can NOT REPENT, “return to the root of the soul” where Christ the LIGHT is both discovered and overcomes the ‘evil’ root or egoism in us all: Once that message goes viral then then then there will be no more need for political division because then the SOUL which is the image and likeness of God, will develop and understand what the ego or ‘spirit of the world” (antichrist) can NEVER understand: PERFECT LOVE that not only casts out all fear but that is able to love its neighbor as itself: Only the soul is able to then overcome poverty, racism, and all other ism’s because the ego is the “many” (legion) while the soul is the “ONE” that is ONE with God, hence in him we move and breathe and have our BEING: Here the soul will be able to do unto others as you would have them do unto you because the soul knows it is ONE with other souls; The ego can never know this experience within, no matter how many times you tell it, there is NO FRAME OF REFERENCE for that truth in the ego: