Hundreds of Faith Leaders Gathered, 7 Arrested in Protest of Sinful Federal Budget Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2017

CONTACT:
Janine Walsh; walsh@franciscanaction.org; (203) 685-1856

Hundreds of Faith Leaders Gathered, 7 Arrested in Protest of Sinful Federal Budget Proposal

Washington, D.C. - On Monday, April 24th, seven faith leaders were arrested in an act of civil disobedience as they called on Congress to reject President Trump's sinful budget proposal. Rev. Traci Blackmon, Bob Cooke, Patrick Carolan, Doug Grace, Elizabeth King, Dr. Eli McCarthy, and Scott Wright were apprehended in the Hart Senate office building while praying for lawmakers to oppose a federal budget that invests in war at the expense of poor and marginalized people. To see the full video from the event, click here.

Religious leaders urged Congress to preserve robust funding for programs that help provide support to people living in poverty and other vulnerable communities in America and abroad, instead of increasing Pentagon spending.

The act of civil disobedience followed a press conference during which Ecumenical Christian clergy gave testimony and prayed for Congress to advance a budget proposal that invests in education, children, seniors, people with disabilities, and a just immigration system that meets human needs.

Faith leaders also strongly opposed funds that would increase the number of private prisons in our nation or create a border wall.

This action caps the weekend of Ecumenical Advocacy Days activities, organized around the theme "Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism" where 1000 Christians from across the country gathered to work for justice. In addition to the action today, more than 500 participants met with their Members of Congress to advocate for a faithful budget.

"Our leaders are looking at and talking as if our federal budget is an economic document, a balance sheet. The federal budget is not just an economic document; it is also a statement on the moral compass of our nation. As such, it should reflect our highest calling to take care of the most vulnerable and support a just, equitable society." said Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network.

Said Doug Grace, Executive Director of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, "Christ began the passion week with civil disobedience, which leads to arrest and crucifixion, and ends with resurrection. We stand in this Easter season, unified in rejection of this budget, committed to be the hands and feet of God, steadfast in our commitment to the least of these."

Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ, shared the greeting of East Africa's Maasai people with participants, posing the question, "How are the children? The viability of any people is rooted in how well the children are doing. How are the children when 64,000 black women and girls are missing in America?... How are the children in Afghanistan when we dropped the mother of all bombs?" 

Of the urgency of this moment, Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative said, "I'm a good Baptist theologian and know there are words we try not to use in church, but when it comes to a budget that proposes to hurt the least of these, I don't just say 'no', I say 'hell no!'"

For additional photos and video clips, click here.

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