Spiritual Leader for Labor Movement Speaks Out
Even if you don’t go to church, used to go to church, or would never go to church, this speech by Father Riley on behalf of the working people is important, because he frames the debate about right and wrong. He speaks plainly about our value system in a way that clarifies just how wrong things are in this country right now, with politicians coming after labor for the Koch brothers.
Reverend Cletus Kiley gave a powerful invocation to the 2,000-plus attendees at an April 4th event in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of the Teamsters Nation:
Father Kiley said,
First came the Wall Street gamblers who crippled our economy, gave themselves obscene bonuses and began the great lie that those to blame are labor unions and the middle class. This is a lie and we will not be silent about it.
When they couldn’t fool us on that one, Lord, they blamed the immigrants and pitted working people against one another, trying to wreak havoc on a level playing field workers. And we saw that for what it is, they demonized our public sector workers. And we can only wonder, are our unions next?
Today they balance their budgets on the backs of the working class. Tax breaks go to the ultra wealthy. General Electric doesn’t even pay a dime. They say our unions have too much of a voice in political life, but pretend that we don’t see the hand of the Koch brothers and other billionaires underwriting their efforts. Something has gone terribly awry in the American house, but today we will not be silent about it.
We have had enough. We are labor. We are the building trades. We are America’s working people and we are one…We say it is time for a new social contract for this country. And we’re going to make it happen. So bless us with courage, bless us with righteous anger, today we are one, and in your name, we will act.
Every movement needs a political leader and a spiritual leader, and by spiritual, I simply mean someone who speaks to our core ethics, our values, the goodness we see in our neighbor and the hopes and dreams we have for our children. Someone who will emphatically say, “This is morally wrong.”