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President of the North Carolina NAACP, Reverend Dr. William Barber, who recently came under fire for comments he made about one of two black U.S. Senators, Republican Tim Scott, was in Madison, Wisconsin, Thursday to raise the level of intensity in the state’s progressive movement.

Barber addressed issues from America’s “Civil Rights” movement to protecting and expanding LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights (47:58 mark in video), which he says are issues that should be at the forefront of today’s “moral dissent” movement.”

Barber nearly drew a full house at the Bethel Lutheran Church, two blocks from the State Capitol, where he received multiple standing ovations during his dramatic revisit through American “civil rights” history. In his speech, Barber called out (8:37 mark in video) conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and the “wealthy extremist” Koch brothers for leading the assault on the process of “reconstructing America.” (31:24 mark in video)

“Recently Rush Limbaugh had the unmitigated gall to challenge the Pope,” to which Barber received warm laughter from the audience, and continued, “don’t you all like this Pope, this new Pope? I do. He challenged him because he was suggesting that talk about the poor is some strange form of redistribution of wealth, and socialism, and the Pope said, listen, listen Rush, listen Rush. You are out of your league. What you don’t know is that caring for the poor and workers’ rights is not communism, it’s the gospel.”

Barber went on to emphasis the progressive tendencies of several Republicans from President’s Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower to Richard Nixon, and their relation to the issues of “moral dissent.”

“Teddy Roosevelt, in 1912, a Republican, described his stance on healthcare. In 1912. Described his stance on healthcare, living wages and conservation of the environment as moral issues.” (13:48 in video)

“The reason I raise this about moral decent, a movement in moral decent, is because at this moment in history I believe we are being called once again to answer the solemnest question, who will stand against the workers of injustice. I believe, and we see it Wisconsin and we see it North Carolina, that America is in the midst of a third Reconstruction.” (18:10 in video)

He then went on to explain his staunch defense of “LGBT rights” as a “black preacher.”

I’ll never forget we got in the middle of a LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) fight in North Carolina. Some friends asked, well why are you involved as a black preacher, why were you involved in LGBT? I said well first of all, this isn’t a war between the black church and the LGBT, that’s a false notion. That’s a notion that the religious right tried to, tried to understand. If anybody’s understood race in America, it’s the black church…

Second of all, I said to them, because the fourteenth amendment was passed to provide equal protection under the law for every citizen, because of what’s been done to black people, and because black people know the original sins of America, which is racism, and because black people know that once that sin was committed it took 250 years of slavery, a hundred years of Jim Crow, martyrs and people being killed, and we still haven’t gotten over it.

We should be the last ones that want to see anybody codify hate into our constitution. (37:40 in video)

Watch the full un-edited video:

In January, Barber became the center of national controversy, after saying “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” referring to Senator Scott. “The extreme right wing down here finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction, and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”

Stay tuned for more coverage, including an interview with Rev. Barber from the Solidarity Sing Along, outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.

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