Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

In this 2014 file photo, a worker from Homrich prepares to turn off water supply to a home in Detroit, Michigan over an unpaid utility bill. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

In this 2014 file photo, a worker from Homrich prepares to turn off water supply to a home in Detroit, Michigan over an unpaid utility bill. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Coalition of Over 500 Faith Leaders Demand Utility Shutoff Moratorium During Pandemic

"As moral leaders, we join with people coming together to demand that our basic human needs are met."

Andrea Germanos

Over 500 faith leaders representing different religious backgrounds on Thursday called on Congress to ensure the next legislative coronavirus aid package include a moratorium on utility shutoffs for the duration of the pandemic.

"A power, water, and broadband shutoff is not about politics; it is about children, the elderly, people needlessly suffering and dying through heat waves and a pandemic," Reverend Dallas Conyers, program coordinator with South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, said in a statement.

"Even Congressional leaders cannot excuse their souls through distance from those who will die if they decide in favor of power over people."
—Rev. Dallas Conyers, South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light

Conyers, who organized the new letter along with the No Shutoffs Coalition and Food & Water Action, urged lawmakers to "be bold and true to their moral values and the constituents they swore to serve by including this shutoff moratorium in the stimulus. The alternative is that they allow this preventable Environmental Justice catastrophe to happen."

"Even Congressional leaders cannot excuse their souls through distance from those who will die if they decide in favor of power over people," she said.

The letter points to the "unprecedented" economic crisis millions of Americans and their families are facing as as result of the coronavirus pandemic. "Access to utility services is more crucial than ever," the groups wrote.

"To stop and survive the virus we all need water to drink, wash our clothes, and wash our hands; we need power for our refrigerators, air conditioners, medical devices, and communications devices running; and we need broadband for updates, information, education, work, and work searches," the letter explains. "These needs have doubled down in the onset of what is essentially the season of heat waves and natural disasters that have become stronger and more frequent. With cases once again on the rise, our communities need additional protections. The NEED for action is IMMEDIATE."

"In the richest country in the world, the fact that families are being shut off from electricity, water, and broadband is a moral failure and an embarrassment. It indicates a callous heart and a glaring mis-management of our abundant resources," the groups wrote, adding that to "prevent a catastrophe of multi-generational impact is not only a requirement of good governance, it's a moral imperative."

In addition to the utility moratorium, the faith leaders are asking congressional leaders to ensure: a reinstatement of services that have already been cut off; an extended grace period to pay off any existing utility bill debts; a waiver on late fees; and "a forgiveness of all bills for low-wealth households, houses of worship, and other non-profit community centers for the duration of the emergency."

"We all have a fundamental right to clean water," said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

"As moral leaders, we join with people coming together to demand that our basic human needs are met," Theoharis added. "In our Poor People's Jubilee Platform, we call for fully funded public water and sanitation infrastructure and an end to utility shut-offs to guarantee that we all have access to water."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Huge Win': Green Groups Applaud Biden Move to Protect Minnesota Watershed

"You don't allow America's most toxic industry next to America's most popular wilderness," said one environmental campaigner.

Brett Wilkins ·


Taking Aim at Predatory Equity Firms, Warren Leads Bill to 'Stop Wall Street Looting'

"Now is the time," asserted Sen. Bernie Sanders, "to end Wall Street's greed, protect workers, and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·


Arizona Groups Demand Sinema 'Stop Obstructing' on Medicare Expansion

The diverse coalition called on the Democratic senator to back "bold drug pricing reform" and "critical improvements to Medicare's coverage" in the reconciliation package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Should Be a No-Brainer': Biden Pushed to Back Long-Term Child Tax Credit Extension

"Putting money in the pockets of those who need it most is good for the children and families receiving it, good for local businesses, and helps protect this fragile economic recovery."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo