Under the Dome

Dome: More clergy say they share protestors' concerns

Staff writersJune 8, 2013 

CORRECTION: The headline and first two paragraphs of this article have been modified. Revisions made at 5:15 p.m. Monday, June 10, 2013.

The protest at the General Assembly on Monday will be led by an ecumenical group of faith leaders. In addition, another group of clergy — a cross-section of Christians, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists — issued a statement saying that they shared the concerns of those taking part in the Monday protests.

Both mark a noteworthy turning point in the weekly protests, which have led to the arrests of more than 300 people over five weeks. While the organizers of the “Moral Mondays” movement have been partisan, the clergy who signed the statement in support make a point of saying their interest isn’t political. (Note, Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson announced he’ll join in.) But the clergy coming Monday have made a point to say their interest isn’t political.

“Rather it is a matter of faith with respect to our understanding of the biblical teachings and imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children, and love our neighbors,” according to a statement provided to Dome over the weekend.

Signing it are Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese in Raleigh; Bishop Michael Bruce Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; the Rev. Leonard Bolick, bishop of the Synod of North Carolina Evangelical Lutheran Church; the Rev. Ted Churn, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of New Hope; Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, North Carolina Conference United Methodist Church; the Rev. Alfred “Chip” Marble, assisting bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; Bishop Larry Goodpaster, Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Church; and the Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

To read the full statement, go to nando.com/dome.

McCrory opposes beach bill

Among the differences between Gov. Pat McCrory and the Senate leadership is the question of building of jetties and terminal groins to stop beach erosion.

The Republican legislature in 2011 year passed a compromise bill ending a 25-year ban on jetties and groins, allowing for four pilot projects – in Ocean Isle Beach, Figure Eight Island, Bald Head Island and Holden Beach. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue allowed the bill, which was opposed by environmentalists, to become law without signing it.

The Senate this year has passed a bill, sponsored by Sens. Bill Rabon and Harry Brown, that would scrap the compromise and allow jetties and groins to be built all along the coast.

It would also remove the taxpayer safeguards in the bill.

But McCrory and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources are opposing the new bill and supporting the compromise passed two years ago. The governor’s position has won kudos from environmental groups such as the N.C. Coastal Federation.

Tillis hires team for Senate bid

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis has begun assembling his team for his U.S. Senate bid to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan. He has hired Brad Todd of On Message Inc. of Alexandria, Va., to be his media consultant.

Todd, an East Tennessee native, worked for Richard Hudson’s congressional campaign last year. He coordinated the message in 2010 for the National Republican Congressional Committee when the GOP won control of the House, and again in 2012 when they retained control of the House.

Among his notable campaigns were Rick Scott’s come-from-behind win as governor of Florida in 2010, and Republican Ron Johnson’s upset of Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin that that same year. He also handled Scott Brown’s Senate victory in Massachusetts.

Handling Tillis’ polling will be Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, who has been Sen. Richard Burr’s chief pollster. Bolger has handled 15 Senate campaigns, six governor campaigns, 75 congressional campaigns. He also has wide experience in North Carolina – much of it working with North Carolina consultant Paul Shumaker, who is also Tillis’ chief strategist.

He has worked for U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows and Walter Jones, Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and the state House and Senate caucuses. He has also worked for a large number of GOP state senators such as Jim Davis, Rick Gunn, Ralph Hise, Wesley Meredith, Buck Newton, Louis Pate, and Richard Stevens. He has also worked for state Rep. Tom Murry of Morrisville.

Times backs Racial Justice Act

The New York Times on Saturday editorialized against North Carolina’s repeal of the Racial Justice Act, legislation passed in the General Assembly that is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The Times editorial recounts the context around the 2009 law, which allowed convicted killers to try to have their sentences converted to life without parole by proving racial bias against them, including evidence that prosecutors kept African-Americans off juries.

“The persistence of racial bias in death penalty prosecutions makes abolishing capital punishment even more urgent,” the editorial concludes.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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