The Moral State of the State: Faith Leaders call for the End of Corruption at the Florida Capitol
Updated: Mar 12
by Lakey Love, March 11, 2021 - Listen to FPAN's first episode of the "Florida People Talk" podcast as Reverend Dr. Russell Meyer, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches, speaks on moral corruption this legislative session and hear from other faith leaders from across the state as they speak out against HB1, the DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill.
On the first day of Florida's Legislative Session, FPAN’s newly launched podcast “Florida People Talk” interviewed Reverend. Dr. Russell L. Meyer, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches, about what is missing in the work being done by the Florida Legislature. In this talk, Rev. Meyer spoke about “the trash in the waterway”, legislation that is currently creating fear and threatening our communities, clogging up the real work that needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable who have suffered so much during the pandemic. He argued that what we ought to be doing instead is creating a Florida where anyone can thrive, even in a pandemic, no matter who you are.
"In a state so rich in God-given and natural resources anyone who comes to Florida ought to be able to thrive,” he argued, “That’s why a 1000 people a day come to Florida because they believe they can thrive here and yet one out of every two households here live at or just above the poverty line.”
It's only the second week of session and many who are coming to Florida’s Capitol, or advocating online and from home, have already become exhausted by the number of rule changes and the empty void their voices seem to be poured into. The most often heard frustration is that it appears the Republican majority legislators just aren’t listening despite polling results, emails, phone calls, letters, in-person testimony and even faxes. Faith leaders, says Rev. Meyer, are here for the long haul and have returned this week from across the state with the message that they won’t give up and that they won't be silenced by fear monigering legislative attacks on the First Amendment.
At a press conference put on by faith leaders opposing the DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill (HB1) in front of the Florida Capitol on Wednesday, March 10th, Rev. Meyer stated:
“The research on the summer of freedom now shows that the protests of millions across the country and thousands here in the state of Florida have led to decreases in the number of people that police killing those who are black and brown. The protests are the truth in the street and they are solving the problem that the legislatures are refusing to solve. If the Governor doesn’t want to see protests in the streets then solve the problem. Make the police accountable. Make them transparent; and turn them from punishers in our communities to peace officers and public safety officers.” (see full video HERE)
His concerns were echoed by faith leaders across the state in Wednesday’s press conference. Reverend James T. Golden, Chair of the Social Action Committee of Florida’s largest black church denomination the Florida African Methodist Episcopal Church, stated this about HB1:
“This legislation was proposed by the Governor of the entire state of Florida. I will not elevate this so-called bill to the level of being considered legislation. It is demagoguery and it is demagoguery at its worst.” (see full video HERE)
Apostle Emory Collier, Fire and Hammer International Training Center, fell to his knees casting his eyes on the sky while stating the following:
“There is not enough of us standing for what is right. Our leaders, our political leaders, have the inability to stand because they want to continue to be in power. What we see is a transformation of the United Kingdom in the United States, where the kings, or the nobles - those who have a lot of money - have the control and are ruling. So we have to wake up to what is going on. We have to say something about it… When President Lincoln heard about the number of deaths in a battle he grabbed his heart. Yes. He grabbed his heart. He didn’t care if it was Northern troops or Southern troops. I wish we had a leader in government who, when they heard about the death of Trayvon Martin, grabbed their heart and fell to their knees and desired to make some change. Someone who would say, okay we made this bill but what we need to do now is to make real corrections...” (see video clip HERE)
For Rev. Dr. Meyer, and other faith leaders at the Florida Council of Churches and Faith in Florida, argue that correction to the corruption would come by adopting a faith-based, or spiritual, call-to-action this legislative session. A moral turn-around, Rev. Meyer argues, is an imperative for helping the most marginalized and oppressed in Florida and this could be easily done by adopting the simple age-old philosophies of the Golden Rule and the Golden Mean.
To hear more from Rev. Meyer and find out how you can get involved with the work, click on the podcast link below. Listen as Rev. Dr. Meyer uses his own faith to explain why legislators and community members need to rearrange their thinking. Hear his call to stop the daemons that shut down plurality and impose silence on those who speak out against tyranny in Florida. Be inspired by his passion for public education and learn why legislative priorities focused on "school choice" corrupt public education and leave Florida's most vulnerable communities without education funding and without an accountability process.
Florida Policy Action Network is a project of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Florida People's Advocacy Center. We combine movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy and action to change the way elected officals in Florida debate issues that directly impact the state's most marginalized and oppressed. Our work needs your support.We need your support to continue our work.
To find out more explore our website at https://www.flpan.org