Mayor Taylor Says Poverty is a Symptom of Godlessness


  • Sara Luna Ellis
At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Mayor Ivy Taylor shared her surprising views on systemic poverty in San Antonio. To her, the "broken people" facing poverty just have a bad relationship with God.

Now, weeks after the forum, a video of her answer has gone viral. The video shows Taylor and fellow candidate Councilman Ron Nirenberg answering a question from Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center. She asks: "What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?"

"I'll go ahead and put it out there," Taylor responds.

"To me, it's broken people...people not being in a relationship with their Creator, and therefore not being in a good relationship with their families and their communities....and not being productive members of society.

I think that's the ultimate answer."

In San Antonio, a city where nearly 15 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, this strategy may not go over too well (especially since many of those living in poverty are, in fact, religious). She made no mention of how the city's  job creation rate, minimum wage, or social service programs could play a role in the city's ongoing poverty issues.

This comes from a mayor who's already on thin ice for using her religious beliefs to discriminate against the city's LGBT community. In 2013, when Taylor was still a councilwoman, she voted against a nondiscrimination ordinance that would protect LGBT San Antonians from being discriminated against by public and private business owners. Her reasoning? People shouldn't be forced to treat everyone equally if it goes against their faith or "moral values." It's the same excuse far-right conservative state lawmakers have used in writing bills to keep transgender kids out of public bathrooms.

This time around, the Democratic incumbent running for mayor has used her faith to chastise the city's poorest citizens — weeks before election day.

In a statement sent to the Current, Taylor said that the video had been "intentionally edited to mislead viewers." However, it's hard to see how NOWcastSA's livestream video of the event could have been manipulated. The full video shows no obvious signs of editing.

"I have devoted my life to breaking the chains of generational poverty," she writes. "I’ve done so because of my faith in God and my belief in Jesus’s ministry on Earth."

* 4/25 The headline has been updated for clarity

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