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Faith Leaders Call On Candidates To Back A "Moral" Agenda

Amanda Vinicky

Activists from across Illinois gathered in Springfield to recognize "Moral Monday."

American government may be founded on a separation of church and state, but this event mingled the two.

Early on, the rally began with a prayer, or "spiritual centering" from Rev. Krista Taves of the Quincy Unitarian Church. She called for the "doors of our political institution" to be open to "the diverse truths of those they are meant to serve. Not the high and mighty, not the ones who own the mountain, but those who built the mountain, those who sustain the mountain with their very lives."

"It is you, you, Spirit of Life, who have called us to wake up and stay woke, called us to proclaim your moral higher ground and to witness to your loving intention for all of us," she said of the fusion of faith and activism.

Members of the clergy took to the podium to read verses from the Bible and Koran, citing them as justification for what they call their "moral" agenda.

They argue the moral, political dilemmas of our time are not abortion and same sex marriage, but the plight of the poor and downtrodden, such as undocumented immigrants, incarcerated black youth, and low-wage laborers.

The rally wasn't patently partisan, though it was organized in part, by the labor union Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which has often been at odds with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. One speaker referred to him by name -- a home care worker upset about Rauner's veto of legislation that would have raised her hourly wage to $15.  Rauner has said with the state running a deficit, Illinois can't afford that, or to pay for workers' training.

Credit Amanda Vinicky
Activists delivered a "Higher Ground Moral Declaration" to Gov. Bruce Rauner's office.

After the rally, a small group linked arms as they entered the Capitol for a meeting with members of Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and to deliver their moral agenda declaration. 

Similar rallies were scheduled in other states.  

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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