…For Religious Leaders Arrested while Demonstrating on Behalf of the Poor and Disenfranchised
July 29, 2011
On Thursday, July 28, 2011, eleven courageous people – including several religious leaders – were arrested in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda while singing and praying that our polarized political leaders will reject any vote that calls for balancing the U.S. budget on the backs of the poor and most vulnerable.
In placing their lives on the line to make this powerful statement, these leaders for a brief moment in time, seized the current debate in Congress and placed it where it should be – in the center of the public arena. After a short period of demonstration, they were physically silenced by the police, handcuffed and taken away.
However, we know – there is no stronger statement than to lay down one’s life for others. M.L. King, Jr. did it. Nelson Mandela did it. The Berrigan brothers did it. Rosa Parks did it. Dorothy Day did it. The Plowshares protesters did it. Jesus of Nazareth did it. All working nonviolently to change “business as usual,” to save our sisters and brothers – not only the poor and disenfranchised – but ultimately to save the rich from themselves.
For only in convincing the wealthy who hold the purse strings, and unfortunately the political strings, that their lives are intimately intertwined with those of the poor – and that it is in their own best interests to work toward a solution for ALL, can this really be accomplished. So we must all continue to work to convince them through protests, vigils, prayers, petitions, appeals, phone calls, letters, in hopes that they wake themselves up.
The looming budget tragedy can and must be avoided at all costs. These eleven disciples of the Holy One Who calls us to care for the Greater Good, the Common Good, represent scores of others – those whose voices would not be taken as seriously because they do not hold titles and perceived positions of power in their communities. To be sure, these eleven were willing to even risk hostility from those in their own denominations who would not approve of, OR who fear the repercussions of doing nonviolent resistance.
These eleven are leading us all by example. They are taking the matter into the center of power – the U.S. Government – to beg, to plead, to appeal, to pray for sanity in determining how our system of economics which has supported so many for so long can be sustained for the long haul. These faithful ones know, as we all know, that our U.S. leaders must be goaded into finally grappling with the Ultimate Truth – that our country’s addiction to wars, nuclear buildup, giving huge financial breaks to the rich and to corporations must CEASE and DESIST if we are to survive…if we are to thrive as a nation.
May the example and voices of these eleven protesters continue to ring out in our consciousness – singing, praying for a JUST justice to be done. May the God of us all hear THEIR pleas. May the God of us all hear OUR pleas. May those who profess to represent the American people and profess to be followers of God, Allah, Yahweh, come to their senses before the ultimate tragedy of years of political and moral degradation occurs. GOD, SAVE US FROM OURSELVES!