Faith Leaders Arrested in Civil Disobedience Action Against Tax Bill

Washington, DC –National faith leaders were arrested by Capitol Police during a nonviolent, faith-based civil disobedience action in response to the proposed tax bill. Faith leaders publicly read the Bible and prayed for the nation in the Hart Senate Office Building Atrium. The treatment of poor and vulnerable people is lifted up in the Bible more than 2,000 times. According to Pew Research, 91% of the members of Congress profess to be Christian. Today’s action served to remind senators of their biblical responsibility to the poor and to raise the nation’s moral conscience to stop the attack on society’s most vulnerable people.

“Faith leaders have written, called, and met with many senators, made statements, had press conferences, delivered sermons, and prayed for the poor and vulnerable who will be devastated by this tax bill. But the time has come to do prayerful, non-violent, civil disobedience in protest of this bill. A great injustice calls for great action. People of faith are standing up with moral and theological arguments against these tax bills. By reading the 2000 verses in the Bible about God calling us to protect the poor, we risk arrest-- but risks to the poor and vulnerable of our nation are far greater, ”said Jim Wallis of Sojouners.

Bishop W. Darin Moore, Chair of the National Council of Churches, USA and Presiding Bishop of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District of The AME Zion Church stated, “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King once said; “There comes a time when silence in betrayal.” Now is such a time! In the face of a tax bill that hurts hard-working people, eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, cuts programs that undergird the most vulnerable, and robs from future generations by increasing the debt of this nation, we must lift our voices in prayer and protest.”

The proposed tax legislation will determine social outcomes for many years to come and signals a shift in the social safety net. “Our tax policies are 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. The 13th century theologian and Franciscan St. Bonaventure tells us, how we choose and what we choose makes a difference – first in what we become by our choices and second what the world becomes by our choices. As a part of the Franciscan family and a Christian I lead with my faith, Catholic social teaching, and specifically Franciscan spirituality, which are all built on tenets of social, environmental, and economic justice. This current tax bill chooses to ignore these Christian moral values,” said  Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network.

“People will die from a tax bill that reflects a reckless disregard for human life because millions will be thrown off health care; and struggling Americans of all races and backgrounds will be treated as collateral in a race to give the rich a tax cut they do not need.  This is immoral, and a sad day in our nation." Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute and Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network.

A selection of the 2000 bible verses are being tweeted to senators via the social media campaign #2000verses.

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